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News agency Associated Press [AP] have reported that the UCI will not attempt to ban Tour de France riders from taking part in the Olympics.

According to AP, UCI president Pat McQuaid has said that such a ban was technically feasible, but ?it?s not in our heart to sanction athletes.?

As recently as Tuesday, the UCI raised the possibility of sanctions for teams and riders taking part in the Tour.

Such sanctions would be a consequence of the ongoing Tour-UCI conflict and the Tour?s decision that this year it will be run under French Cycling Federation (FCF) rules, outside the UCI?s jurisdiction.

But McQuaid?s declarations makes it clear that barring riders from the Olympics is not one of the sanctions the UCI will be carrying out.

The news will be welcomed in the UK by Mark Cavendish and his High Road squad. Cavendish is widely expected to take part in the Tour and then go on to represent Great Britain at the Olympics.

But he is far from being the only rider in this situation. In Spain, for example, Oscar Freire (Rabobank), Samuel Sanchez (Euskaltel-Euskadi) and Alejandro Valverde (Caisse D?Epargne) are all on Spain?s short-list for the Olympics. But prior to Beijing, they are all definitely riding the Tour de France this July.

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