World cycling union, Paris-Nice riders to meet over dispute

PARIS -- The International Cycling Union will meet with professional riders next week following
the dispute over the Paris-Nice stage race.

Event organizer ASO refused the Astana team entry to all of
its races, including Paris-Nice, because of the team's past
doping record.

The dispute led to the event being held outside the
jurisdiction of the UCI, which threatened to sanction all of the
riders at the start.

"The UCI is currently looking into the consequences that
will apply to those who breached its rules," a statement from
the world governing body said on Tuesday.

"This evaluation will take into account the fact that Amaury
Sport Organisation [ASO], with the collusion of the French
Cycling Federation [FFC], deliberately removed Paris-Nice from
the organizational structure of the UCI, thus creating a
problematic situation for riders and teams alike."

The UCI confirmed it would take sanctions against the FFC
and its president, Jean Pitallier, because the race was held under
FFC jurisdiction.

"As far as the riders and their teams are concerned, the UCI
will ask for measures appropriate to the situation," the union said. "A meeting with riders has been scheduled for March 25, when
any relevant information can be exchanged," it added.

However, it was not clear whether the riders would face
sanctions as UCI president Pat McQuaid had promised earlier this

The disagreement between the UCI and ASO is set to continue as ASO
has already said it would select teams for all of the races it will
run until the Tour de France.

The UCI and ASO have been at odds since the Tour
organizer's refusal to be part of the UCI ProTour series.

Under the UCI regulations, all ProTour-labeled teams have a
guaranteed place in the top races.