Paris-Nice cycling race to be run under its own rules

Updated: February 26, 2008, 2:09 PM ET
Associated Press

PARIS -- The Paris-Nice race will take place next month under its own rules despite opposition from the International Cycling Union, which wants teams to boycott the event.

UCI president Pat McQuaid sent a letter to all pro cycling teams Monday explaining why it will not oversee the 75-year-old race organized by French group Amaury Sports Organization, which also owns the Tour de France.

"Despite the hostile positions taken by the UCI president, Paris-Nice will take place as planned from the ninth to the 16th of March," ASO said Tuesday in a statement. "And will be organized according to the technical rules of the French Cycling Federation, in application of the French law."

That would make the FFC responsible for overseeing doping controls if the UCI withdraws its anti-doping officials. The UCI could also threaten to keep ASO races outside of its proposed scheme of anti-doping passports.

"It doesn't surprise me that they would do it," McQuaid told The Associated Press. "Their attitude to this is totally wrong. ASO's only objective is an ever-growing financial profit."

McQuaid also said the UCI would not count the results of teams that participate in Paris-Nice, and added that cyclists who ride could damage their chances of competing in future events such as the Olympics.

The rift could also jeopardize the Tour de France, with the 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 the UCI's jurisdiction.

The UCI and ASO have been increasingly at adds, with the dispute escalating at last year's Tour.

Last July, ASO president Patrice Clerc called for McQuaid to step down as head of the UCI. Tour director Christian Prudhomme added to the dispute by declaring the Tour would operate under its own rules in future.

Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press

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