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Last Ditch Meeting Set for Monday to Salvage Pro Cycling Season


Cycling team leaders have invited the International Cycling Union, UCI, and elite tour organizers to a last-ditch negotiating session Monday in an effort to avoid derailing the professional season.

The International Professional Cycling Teams asked the world governing body and the Amaury Sports Organization, which owns the Tour de France and the season-opening Paris to Nice race, to meet.

At issue is who will control cycling, the governing body or organizers of the major races including the Tour de France, Tour of Italy and Tour of Spain.

The dispute threatens to throw the season into chaos, with some teams supporting Tour organizers and others supporting the UCI.

Tour organizers want more leeway over who they invite to races. When the UCI recently increased the number of ProTour teams from 18 to 20, the ASO responded by saying it would not invite the Swedish team Unibet.com to the season-opening race. Organizers of the Tour of Spain and Tour of Italy supported the move.

The world governing body then reduced Paris-to-Nice to a so-called national event, which is open only to Continental, national, provincial and local teams. ProTour teams are barred from national events.

The Paris-to-Nice race is scheduled to start March 11 and runs through the 18.

Some information for this report provided by AP and AFP.

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