Unibet sues Grand Tour organizers

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Wednesday, March 07, 2007
By Yokota Fritz

Cycling Team Unibet filed suit in Paris yesterday against ASO, the organizers of Paris-Nice.

The Unibet pro cycling team is at the center of a dispute between the International Cycling Union (UCI) and the Amaury Sports Organization (ASO), organizers of Paris-Nice and the Tour de France. ASO banned UCI member Unibet from participating in the French races, claiming that French law prohibits advertising of non-French gambling companies; Unibet is a large gaming operator in Europe. Belgium based Lotto, however, has been sponsoring cycling teams for nearly two decades.

UCI responded to this ban by asking all 20 ProTour teams to boycott Paris-Nice, but the UCI gave in to ASO's demands after all day negotiations on Monday. Unibet expressed extreme disappointment at this news and filed the lawsuit in response. We have invested €32 million to be a part of the ProTour to be able to take part in all ProTour events but now they're refusing us that right," team manager Jacques Hanegraaff said Tuesday. "It is obvious that Unibet was refused for arbitrary reasons because of the conflict between the UCI and the organizers of races. It's unacceptable!"

In other news, Astana made the cut on a wild card invitation to Paris-Nice.

More (in English) at cyclingnews.com.


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Unibet has reason to be extremely disappointed. They ought to sue the jokers at the UCI as well. The UCI talked big and then caved in at the last minute on this one. Way to stand by your demands guys, you're obviously doing a great job of looking out for the riders that you represent.
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