June 6, 2008 (Madrid, Spain) — The French-based Amaury Sport Organisation (ASO), which owns such ProTour races as the Tour de France and Paris-Nice, has acquired 49% of the Vuelta a Espana (Tour of Spain) announced Vuelta organizer Unipublic yesterday as reported in the Belgian De Standaard. The deal leaves 51% of the Vuelta in the control of the Spanish media group Grupo Antena.3 Television. The amount ASO paid for the transaction was not disclosed?
The ASO, in an ongoing conflict with the UCI, is organizing the 2008 Tour de France outside of UCI jurisdiction. This acquisition expands ASO’s influence in the world of cycling. ASO President Patrice Clerc indicated this March that his organization was interested in buying a minority position in the Vuelta. “This conflict [with the UCI] has brought us closer to our Italian and Spanish friends.”
The 2008 Vuelta starts on August 30 in Granada and finishes on September 21 in Madrid. The Tour de France, the Giro (Tour of Italy) and the Vuelta are considered to be the three most prestigious bicycle races in the world.