UCI President Pat McQuaid has warned teams who are participating in Paris-Nice that they are risking putting themselves outside the protection of the sport?s governing body, and accused race organiser ASO of exploiting teams for their own commercial benefit.

?You would be joining a private circuit controlled entirely by ASO for the benefit of its commercial interests,? he has said.

McQuaid has written a letter to all 17 teams on the start list, following ASO?s request that all sign a binding contract which includes an agreement to exclude riders who ?could damage the image of the event or the organiser.?

According to McQuaid, ASO would act as judge, jury and executioner if a rider was implicated in any doping scandal, or even mentioned in rumours.

?If you read the proposed contract carefully, you will see that it is completely one-sided in favour of ASO,? he wrote. ?The only purpose of this contract is the protection of the image of the race and ASO?s commercial interests.?

McQuaid also insisted that if Paris-Nice went ahead under ASO?s conditions, it would break UCI rules.

?Teams would have little else in terms of rights other than the right to submit to the wishes of ASO. It allows ASO to wipe out at a stroke all the rules and regulations which have been built up over the years in order to ensure a balance of power between the teams and organisers.?

?Your participation at Paris-Nice organised in this manner by ASO would be a total violation of the rules of the UCI.?