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UCI won't recognize Paris-Nice race in dispute with Tour de France organizers

UCI won't recognize Paris-Nice race in dispute with Tour de France organizers

The International Cycling Union will not recognize this year's Paris-Nice race in an escalating dispute with Tour de France organizers.
UCI chief Pat McQuaid sent a letter on Monday to all professional teams to explain why it will not oversee the 75-year-old race organized by French group Amaury Sports Organization (ASO), which also owns the Tour.
The rift is jeopardizing the Tour itself, with UCI threatening to withdraw anti-doping regulators from the sport's marquee event if organizers and French cycling authorities do not hold their events under UCI's jurisdiction.
"The current organizers are behaving in a very irrational way," McQuaid told The Associated Press by telephone. "It's about power and it has nothing to do with sport. We cannot allow this to happen."
He blamed the impasse on the ASO's decision to manage the Paris-Nice "under the exclusive jurisdiction of French law," but did offer sporting authorities in France the chance to reconsider and play by international rules.
"This measure is utterly irregular and will have far-reaching consequences for all parties involved," UCI said in a statement. If France's cycling federation "insists on maintaining this position, the race will take place entirely outside the regulatory and organizational structure of the UCI."
The most immediate effect of such a scenario would concern doping controls, which would now be the responsibility of the French cycling federation, or FFC.
"No anti-doping controls will be carried out by the UCI, nor will it be involved in the management of any tests which may be carried out under national law," the Swiss-based cycling body said.
Violations "would therefore lie in the first place with the FFC, which would be contributing to the organization of a purely private event," UCI said, adding that the race would have "no links to organized sport or to the Olympic movement, of which the UCI is the sole organ of reference for all disciplines of cycling."
The Paris-Nice race is scheduled to run from March 9-16.
McQuaid said the standoff could "indeed affect the Tour de France," if the FFC refused to bring its events under the "UCI calendar."
He also threatened sanctions on cycling teams participating in the Paris-Nice race and on the French cycling federation, possibly even banning it.
"According to UCI regulations, international teams cannot participate" in the race, McQuaid said. "We will take away anti-doping inspectors. Any penalties that would then apply don't have value on an international basis. These are the consequences of the decision, and I don't know why they made that decision."
The UCI said that it would not recognize the winner or the results of the Paris-Nice, and that no points would be awarded based on performances.
The cycling body and Tour organizers often have been at loggerheads. Last year, ASO boss Patrice Clerc called for McQuaid to step down after a long-running feud that included doping scandals at the Tour.
Tour director Christian Prudhomme added to the dispute by declaring the race will operate under its own rules in future.


Updated : 2021-04-24 02:40 GMT+08:00