February 28, 2007
McQuaid: Paris-Nice teams "will be heavily penalized"
L'Equipe reports that UCI president Pat McQuaid is threatening punishments against any ProTour team that shows up for Paris-Nice March 11th.
McQuaid reportedly sent a letter to four French teams — AG2R, Bouyges Telecom, Cofidis, and Française des Jeux — saying, in part, "if you decide, against the rules, to take part in Paris-Nice, you will be heavily penalized."
Bouyges Telecom, Cofidis, and FdJeux were linked with Rabobank, T-Mobile, and Gerolsteiner Friday in a Reuters story that claimed those 6 teams would defy the UCI and start the race. Gerolsteiner, T-Mobile and Rabobank later denied the report, with Rabobank's Erik Breukink declaring the team “100 percent behind the UCI,” while T-Mobile was more conciliatory.
Paris-Nice, the biggest of the early-season tours, is organized by ASO, which also organizes the Tour de France. ASO and the other Grand Tour organizers are locked in a power struggle with the UCi.
The organization of teams is scheduled to meet March 2nd, and Paris-Nice will be a major topic of discussion.
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