March 3, 2008 – The UCI wishes to react to comments made in recent days, in particular in the press, by Mr. Eric Boyer, President of AIGCP (International Association of Professional Cycling Teams).
According to a press release issued by Mr. Boyer on February 27, all the teams had been consulted before a unanimous decision was reached to participate in the Paris-Nice. This decision was supposedly taken after a discussion of the conditions of their participation in the event.
After having consulted several team managers, the UCI notes that Mr. Boyer’s statements do not correspond to the actual situation: several teams were not consulted. It is thus false to assert that the teams unanimously decided to participate in the Paris-Nice.
The AIGCP met on February 29. According to Mr. Boyer, the teams agreed on the amendments to the contract between AIGCP and ASO concerning their participation in the Paris-Nice. This is not true either: not only did a restricted number of team managers attend the AIGCP meeting, but the majority of these declared that they were opposed to the contents of the press release of February 27.
The truth is thus that the teams did not come out in favour of participation in the Paris-Nice irrespective of the conditions. In fact, several teams contacted UCI seeking to take part in the Paris-Nice under UCI regulations.
The UCI considers it necessary, urgent and legitimate to question Mr. Boyer’s hurry to have the teams sign a contract proposed by ASO, which denies them, as well as the riders, basic rights in respect of the organiser, to be replaced by obligations without reciprocation. Mr. Boyer, however, does not seem concerned with respecting UCI regulations.
The UCI also notes that, following the agreement that it reached in Treviso with the presidents of the French, Italian, Spanish, Belgian and Luxembourg national federations, the Italian, Belgian and, this week, Spanish federations, have registered the events of the organisers RCS, Unipublic and ASO on the agreed calendars (Tirreno-Adriatico, Milan-Sanremo, Giro d’Italia and Tour of Lombardy for Italy, the FlÃ¨che Wallonne and LiÃ¨ge-Bastogne-LiÃ¨ge for Belgium and the Vuelta a EspaÃ±a for Spain). The only races that are still “rogue” events, without regulation, are those organised by ASO in France. It is only ASO that now intends to impose, through the intermediary of the President of the AIGCP, a contract on the teams — and as a result on the riders — who will no longer benefit from the protection offered by UCI regulations.
The UCI reminds riders that their participation in the Paris-Nice under these conditions could have several unfortunate consequences for them, in particular the lack of insurance in the event of an accident if the insurance companies refuse to cover a race held outside the regulations. This is just one example of the consequences. The participation of a rider in the Paris-Nice may also have regulatory consequences, including a possible suspension of up to six months.
The UCI reiterates its appeal to the teams and their riders to respect UCI regulations as set out in the contract they have signed. Those involved in cycling must be protected by a single set of regulations. Cycling must be governed by a structure that reconciles the interests of all and must not be subject to the diktats of the entity with the most financial influence.
The UCI demands that ASO should register its events, starting with the Paris-Nice, on the calendars agreed in Treviso in accordance with the commitment made by the President of the French Cycling Federation. The UCI wants the Paris-Nice to go ahead, but under the framework of UCI regulations.