Confirmation of likely sale of Dauphiné Libéré to ASO
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Thursday, January 07, 2010

Confirmation of likely sale of Dauphiné Libéré to ASO

by Conal Andrews at 5:09 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling
 

ASO’s dominance over French cycling continues to grow, with confirmation of the news that they will almost certainly buy the Dauphiné Libéré race.

Writing in the newspaper of the same name, Dauphiné CEO Henri-Pierre Gilbert confirmed that the Tour de France organisers would run this year’s event, and are very likely to take it over after that.

“A contract for the organisation of the 2010 edition has been entrusted to ASO,” he stated. “In addition, very advanced negotiations are underway for the handing-over of the race.”

First organised in 1947, the race has been encountering a difficult financial situation in recent years and so it has been decided to relinquish control. This will allow the newspaper to concentrate on other things, and should also safe-guard the future of the event.

“It is a strategic decision,” he explained. “The Dauphiné Libéré wishes to focus its activities on its core business. The choice of ASO is more legitimate because of its know-how and expertise in this area. Our goal is the sustainability of the Criterium, which is an important part of the sporting heritage of our region. We remain closely associated as a partner. This is not an abandonment, but simply an adjustment in line with our future goals.”

ASO completed a similar acquisition several years ago when it took over Paris-Nice. This has moved the race back onto a much more stable position.

It also organises the Tour de France, Liège-Bastogne-Liège, Paris-Roubaix, Flèche Wallonne, Criterium International, Paris-Tours, the Tour de l’Avenir, the Tour de Picardie and, outside Europe, the Tours of Qatar and Oman. ASO also has a large stake in the Vuelta a España.

Today’s news raises a question mark over the Dauphiné’s continued status as a ProTour event. ASO’s top races are on the Historic calendar. However relations with the UCI are much better than in the past, and so any shift would be deemed less serious than if it had taken place two years ago.

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