Court of Arbitration for Sport asked to protect Paris-Nice riders from sanctions
World sport's highest appeal court is looking for a solution to allow riders to compete in the Paris-Nice cycle race without punishment.
7 March 2008
LAUSANNE - World sport's highest appeal court is looking for a solution to allow riders to compete in the Paris-Nice cycle race without punishment.
The Court of Arbitration for Sport has been asked to intervene in the dispute by an association of elite teams, International Professional Cycling Teams.
The IPCT acted after its members and individual riders were threatened with fines and suspensions by cycling's world governing body, the UCI.
"We have received the case and we are working on it at the moment. We hope to have some news by tomorrow (Friday)," CAS spokeswoman Katy Hogg said Thursday.
The eight-day Paris-Nice race, the first major event of the European season, is scheduled to start Sunday.
The buildup has been overshadowed by a bitter dispute between the UCI and the French organizers, Amaury Sports Organization.
ASO, which also operates the Tour de France, angered the governing body by deciding to run the Paris-Nice race outside UCI control. The race is scheduled to start under the authority of the French national cycling federation, with doping controls carried out by the French national agency.
In a statement, the IPCT said "the teams and their riders are caught between a rock and a hard place. We did not want to take part in this conflict, but must protect the interests of members."
The organization asked CAS to decide if the teams and riders can compete without facing further sanctions from the governing body.
"We are not part of this decision to go to the arbitration court," UCI spokesman Enrico Carpani said. "Maybe CAS will approach UCI but we have to wait and see."
The UCI first urged riders to boycott the race, then warned them earlier this week of the consequences of taking part. Sanctions include a suspension of up to six months, fines of up to CHF10,000, and exclusion from the world championships.
Two British riders, Mark Cavendish and Bradley Wiggins, chose not to compete in Paris-Nice because they feared the sanctions could jeopardize their eligibility for the Beijing Olympics.
Teams were threatened with similar fines, a suspension of their UCI registration, and withdrawal of their license to compete in the UCI Pro Tour.[Copyright ap 2008]