French federation confirms Tour of the Mediterranean will be held next month
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Friday, January 27, 2012

French federation confirms Tour of the Mediterranean will be held next month

by Shane Stokes at 11:09 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling
 
FFC criticises actions of Ligue Nationale de Cyclisme

Tour of the MediterraneanThe French Cycling Federation (FFC) has announced today that the Tour of the Mediterranean will indeed take place next month, bringing to an end any uncertainty about the immediate future of the race.

“While the Board of Directors of the Ligue Nationale de Cyclisme [National League of Cycling – ed.] has twice refused the placing of the Tour Mediterranean on the calendar, the French Cycling Federation (FFC) has, via its President, David Lappartient, ensured with the UCI that this race will indeed figure on the international calendar in 2012,” it said in a statement.

The race is due to take place between February 8th and 12th.

The FFC itself raised questions about the event when, on December 19th, it announced that it had been cancelled. “The conditions for scheduling in 2012 have not been met,” it said then. “The Tour Med 2012 can not be organised.”

It was reported at the time 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 race organiser Lucien Aimar, the 1966 Tour de France winner, denied then that 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.

He disputed that, claiming that it had previously been agreed that these primes didn’t count because of the changes to the stage.

The FFC quickly backtracked on its initial stance, indicating two days after the initial announcement that the LNC had acted too hastily in the matter as no meeting was held with the organiser prior to the event’s cancellation. It said it was working to save the race.

Today’s release makes it clear that it feels the LNC was at fault, and had not acted properly. “Faced with the astonishing stance taken by an amazing number of directors of the LNC - including representatives of the Union Nationale des Cyclistes Professionnels [National Union of Professional Cyclists – ed.], which are going against the point of view of the associations representing the founding members of the LNC, which are professional teams and [race] organizers, the FCC has taken up this matter.”

It said that in light of what commitments the race organiser had made in terms of finances, that the LNC had taken a position that was “contrary to the interests of French cycling and especially in relation to French professional cycling.”

It called on such institutions to, where possible, ‘defend the interests of its members and to preserve…the place French cycling has in the international arena.’

Rich history of French race:

The Tour of the Mediterranean 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 there is still a high demand for places.

More details of this year’s race are now expected to emerge.

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