MCQUAID REFUSES TO BACK DOWN OVER PROTOUR WAR
UCI President Pat McQuaid has refused to back down in the war with the major race organisers over the ProTour and the teams riding Paris-Nice.
Speaking during the time trial stage of the Tour of California in Solvang on Friday, McQuaid insisted that Paris-Nice organisers ASO have to accept that the UCI can decide the rules of the sport.
“People need to reflect on the situation the sport finds itself in now and take the appropriate decision as a result,” McQuaid told Cycling Weekly.
“We were forced into a situation where there was no option but to send the letter to the teams. I didn’t want to send it and I don’t want the teams to ride Paris-Nice or the race to go ahead but when ASO started it off by not respecting the rules in the first place and then when I met with them and tired to find a compromise their attitude was that “the UCI can make the rules on the size of bikes, length of stages but we can’t make the rules on participation in the races. It’s very difficult negotiating and trying to find a solution when people take that attitude and approach. We have an hierarchy of teams on one side and a hierarchy of teams on another and we regulate and control the participation in all the events.”
“I’m angry. I don’t like doing this. I didn’t become UCI President to become involved in wars, I want to help the sport grow but 60% of my time is spent fighting doping or this one. I’m angry with ASO and the attitude they take that they can decide who rides their race. They are the only company in the whole sport that makes money. Teams just survive and other organisers just survive. ASO are the only ones to make money and they make a lot of money.”
“It’s the principal of the ProTour they’re trying to kill. The ProTour gives security to teams, sponsors and rider but they don’t want that because they want to be only ones with security in this sport. That’s not possible. There’s no hidden agenda on our part. We aren’t after the power of the Tour de France. We’re just trying to develop the sport but it’s getting harder and harder for race organisers even in the ProTour. With the stance they’re taking at the moment they’re damaging the sport. It’s not the UCI who created this situation, it was ASO and the other major race organisers because they decided not to accept the rules.”
“I don’t know what’s going to happen but I hope the sport can stay together. At the moment with ASO deciding to go outside the rules I don’t know what their long-term agenda is but we can’t accept that people are allowed to make their own rules. That’s anarchy. We’re willing take steps back and discus things like calendars but they have accept that the rules are made by the UCI. Just because they don’t agree doesn’t mean they can break everything up. I don’t accept that dictatorism. I’m no dictator and I’m willing to talk to anybody. In a democracy you have to accept the rules.”
“I hope we can eventually find a solution but I don’t know what it is. We need a solution but in order to get that we need ASO to accept that they are a good organisers but that the rules and regulations are left to the governing body of the sport.”