June 3, 2008 – The International Cycling Union (UCI) has noted the request by ASO to register the Tour de France on the national calendar of the French Cycling Federation (FFC) rather than on the UCI’s international calendar.
The UCI considers the FFC’s support for ASO’s request deeply regrettable for sport and for the unity of the cycling family.
The UCI deplores the decision taken by the executives of ASO and the FFC. It considers it entirely inappropriate that ASO, with the support of the FFC, should have chosen to announce this by press conference, without having informed the International Cycling Union beforehand. This provides further evidence of ASO’s wish to disregard the UCI’s authority in international cycling, following its leaders’ refusal either to pay the fees for registering its events on the calendar, or to contribute to the biological passport, as cycling’s other major stakeholders have done.
ASO’s decision is bad for cycling. Given that the Tour de France will now take place outside the ambit of the UCI, it will not benefit from the oversight of International Commissaires, or from the involvement of the UCI Anti-doping Inspectors. Riders and teams will, by participating, expose themselves to sanctions, and ASO’s leaders alone are to blame for this.
The UCI finds it difficult to understand why ASO has refused to register the Tour de France on the “historical” calendar within the UCI’s international calendar, given that it did so for Paris-Roubaix, which went ahead without any problems for the organisers, the teams or the riders. The UCI notes that the organisers of the Giro d’Italia registered their event on the “historical” calendar to the general satisfaction of the cycling family.
ASO has demonstrated by these actions that it intends to follow its own rules, within a structure it has itself created. This year, it will deny the winner of last year’s Tour de France the opportunity to defend his title. The UCI believes it is absolutely vital to fight against such aberrations.