March 05, 2007
UCI, ASO, IPCT reach temporary agreement
The embarrassing showdown between the Grand Tour organizers and the International Cycling Union has been postponed until September.
In a face-to-face meeting today in Brussels, representatives of the UCI, ASO, and the International Professional Cycling Teams reached a stopgap agreement that lets teams start Paris-Nice on Sunday without fear of retribution.
The UCI agreed that the Tour de France, Giro d'Italia, and Vuelta a España (and the races run by their organizers) can invite only 18 of the 20 ProTour teams, and that their organizers do not have to present the ProTour jersey at their events. Apparently, the Big Three organizers will “examine in a positive spirit the granting of wild cards to the teams Astaña and Unibet.” There appears to be some wiggle room about the wild cards, so we'll see how things go.
All parties agreed to monthly meetings aimed at reaching a new and permanent agreement by September 21st, just before the world championships.
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My fear has been that Discovery and or Basso wouldn't be allowed to race the TdF this year. Maybe, just maybe we'll all find out about it on TdF eve or on the first day they just won't happen to have a number for Basso to wear when he signs in. As I read the "agreement" it sounds like ASO will honor the automatic invite of Discovery and the 18 other pro-tour teams, so we're half way there. As it was, with the pro-tour getting pissed with Discovery signing him in the first place, and then is sort of all just got "fixed." I think the pro-tour is in a very fragile state.
Anyone want to wager on Basso actually riding this year's tour? I guesstimate the line to be at about 40% chance that he'll get to ride. The tough decision then seems to be should Discovery show solidarity and stand by their man and not ride or should they ride without him like CSC did and then burn that bridge like CSC did. How many stages did Cippo not win in the Tour because of that toga? I'm guessing about 12-15 and that was all just personal vendetta. I don't think this is over with by a long shot.
Posted by: Vince at Mar 5, 2007 10:05:28 PM