Posted by Editor on 12/10/05
UCI Responds to Grand Tour Organizers
Yesterday, the organizers of the Grand Tours (and other major races) announced that they have cut off negotiations with the UCI over the ProTour and have removed all their races from the series. The UCI has now responded:
The UCI has taken note of the press release published (December 9th) by ASO (Tour de France), RCS (Giro) and Unipublic (Vuelta), and wishes to point out the following:
1. Establishing and modifying the rules that govern the sport of cycling is the exclusive province of the International Federation. Recognition of the legitimacy of this position must form the basis of any discussion of the rules, and therefore excludes the possibility of any unilateral decision outside this institutional context.
2. Leaving aside for the moment the details of the proposals made by the organisers of the three major tours for 2006, the UCI notes that their application would in fact lead to a situation similar to that pertaining in 2005 as regards team participation.
3. The UCI ProTour Council will study the proposals for 2007. As mentioned in point 1 in general terms, the UCI wishes to point out that no new classification, such as the "Trophy of the three Major Tours", may be created without its authorisation. This is in accordance with article 1.2.026 of the UCI Rules, which states that any classification based on events on the international calendar must be explicitly authorised by the UCI.
4. Contrary to what the press release implies, the UCI has not provided any incorrect information to the teams. These were effective decisions of the UCI ProTour Council, the only body competent to make decisions regarding elite professional cycling.
Finally, the UCI notes that the tone and the content of the press release published by ASO, RCS and Unipublic clearly show that the organisers of the three major tours have given far greater weight to commercial and financial aspects in establishing the participation system to be applied to their races than to sporting criteria and to the financial stability of the movement as a whole.
The ethical principles mentioned by the organisers as justification for their strong opposition to the UCI ProTour licences, to give just one example, apparently do not apply when they wish to buy the participation of the best teams for their own races.
As the only party to this reform with no financial interests to promote or to defend, the UCI could never share such an outmoded and dangerous vision of the future of cycling.
To conclude, as the strategy implemented in 2005, based on the UCI ProTour and the Continental Circuits, has shown its worth, the UCI is more determined than ever to continue with it.
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