French cycling federation pushing to save Tour of the Mediterranean
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Wednesday, December 21, 2011

French cycling federation pushing to save Tour of the Mediterranean

by Shane Stokes at 2:40 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling
FFC will mediate in dispute over important early-season race

Tour Mediterranean Fears that the Tour of the Mediterranean might be abandoned this year after 38 editions appear fortunately to be premature, with the French cycling federation FFC stating that it is wants to mediate and help solve the dispute.

“The French Cycling Federation, concerned with the greater interests of French cycling and worried about the future of a flagship event, proposes to hold a mediation between the Ligue Nationale de Cyclisme [National League of Cycling] and the organizer of the Tour Mediterranean in order to maintain this race and its inclusion in the 2012 calendar,” it said in a statement today.

The news is a welcome boost after Monday’s announcement by the same federation that the race would not go ahead in 2012.

“The conditions for scheduling in 2012 have not been met…the Tour Med 2012 can not be organised,” it said then.

On that same day, Cyclism’Actu reported that the problem was due to an unpaid amount of €23,000, owed to the Ligue Nationale de Cyclisme (LNC) after a stage in 2010 was shortened due to bad weather.

However Velochrono subsequently interviewed race organiser Lucien Aimar, the 1966 Tour de France winner, who denied the issue had persisted. He said a cheque had been paid and cashed to settle that amount, but added that the LNC had claimed that €11,500 euros of primes from the cancelled stage to Biot in 2010 still had to be covered.

Aimar said that it had previously been agreed that these primes didn’t count because of the changes to the stage.

He also claimed that the LNC president Marc Madiot didn’t even know that the LNC board was trying to stop the race being run. “This is really weird,” he said. “If we were not within the rules, if we still owed money – but this is not the case! I don’t think they realise the harm they are doing to cycling. The bike does not need that.”

The FFC indicated today that it believes the LNC has acted too hastily in the matter. “The French Cycling Federation regrets that, prior to the final decision to refuse registration of the Mediterranean Tour to the calendar of the UCI, by the Ligue Nationale de Cyclisme, no hearing with the organiser was organized,” it said. It added that it supported all of its organisers, while also saying that rules relating to event organization and the payment of fees to the LNC needed to be respected.

Important place on calendar and in history:

The race has been run since 1974, has been won by big names such as Eddy Merckx, Gerrie Knetemann, Phil Anderson, Tony Rominger, Gianni Bugno, Frank Vandenbroucke, Laurent Jalabert, Jens Voigt and last year’s champion, David Moncoutié.

Aimar has organised the event for many years, and has always managed to keep it going despite previous budget issues. It plays a very important part in the early season calendar, not least because it includes the summit finish of Mont Faron, which is used by the big guns to test their legs.

It has come under more pressure in recent years due to the growth of big races outside Europe such as the Santos Tour Down Under and the Tours of Qatar and Oman. However with a high demand for places and many big teams and riders wishing to take part, it would lead a big gap in the calendar if it had to stop.

The FFC’s makes clear in today’s release that it wants to see the situation resolved satisfactorily. “The Federation President, David Lappartient, counts on the support of the President of the Ligue Nationale de Cyclisme, Marc Madiot, that a positive outcome to this situation is found quickly to maintain the activity of professional cycling in France,” it stated.

Providing it goes ahead, the 2012 race is due to be held between February 8th and 12th.


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