The future of next week?s Paris-Nice and the longer term future of the ProTour and professional racing is almost certainly to be decided in a special meeting on Monday afternoon in Brussels.
After months of personal arguments and turf wars over the future of the sport, the International Professional Cycling Teams -the association that looks after the commercial interests of 17 of the 20 ProTour teams, has managed to convince UCI President Pat McQuaid to sit down and negotiate with the Patrick Clerc of the Tour de France, Angelo Zomegnan of the Giro d?Italia and Victor Cordero of the Vuelta Espana. Also present will be ProTour manager Alain Rumpf and IPCT representatives Patrick Lefevere (Quick Step) and Roberto Amadio (Liquigas).
The IPCT hope they can broker at least a short-term deal between the UCI and the big three race organizer so that Paris-Nice can be held as planned and other races such as Tirreno-Adriatico and Milan-San Remo are not disrupted.
?We create our teams to race but if there isn?t an agreement we?ll know who?s fault it is,? Roberto Amadio, team manager of the Liquigas told La Gazzetta dello Sport.
?Our sponsors are sick of risking their money and we?re sick of getting e-mails from the UCI and the race organizers. We want to look them in the eye and decide if cycling can be saved by following the rules. The ball is in our court but they both have to stop being arrogant and stop ruining cycling.?
In recent weeks the French organizers announced they would run Paris-Nice as a national level race but the UCI responded by threatening the ProTour teams against competing because under the rules, major teams cannot ride national event. The UCI hoped to get the teams on their side but on Friday 15 of the 17 teams voted to ride Paris-Nice. If an agreement cannot be reached today then the teams are ready to take legal action and spark a protest that involves the riders and the International Riders Association.
The meeting is due to start at 2:00pm CET and there will be an immediate report on the outcome here at cyclingweekly.co.uk.