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CN has a feature story today on the UCI's ongoing work, to be presented at the AIGCP annual meetings (translation: UCI and other federations), and how Tour owners ASO keep snubbing them as part of their ongoing war over the Pro Tour.

In depth, on the flip...

I'll restrain myself and say that ASO are probably digging in their heels as they try to get what they want ($, control) from a Pro Tour setup that they think is unfair. Are they right, or do they suffer from an inflated view of the grand tours' importance? Hey, we report, you decide.

But as reported yesterday, they are behaving like complete jackasses in the process. I would say that refusing to invite UCI president Pat McQuaid is childish, but I have a child and he'd never be so petty. Today CN reports that ASO refuses to collaborate with the UCI on a systematic plan to address doping.

Now, the article is devoid of what that plan is, other than saying the UCI wants something up and running for the start of the 2007 calendar. But ASO's stand on "principle" is pretty strained, and thoroughly self-defeating. Do they think that by sitting out the doping talks they strengthen their hand in negotiations? Perhaps, but that strikes me as stupid; if anything, their failure to engage in the great issue of the times only marginalizes them. There is an important role for the race organizers to play, as should be obvious to anyone who watched the Tour or at least anyone who wonders about the practices at the Chantenay-Mabry lab. But if the UCI implements a meaningful solution without over the denials of the grand tours, then we'll all know who's serious about restoring the integrity of the sport. And who isn't.

If anyone can explain ASO's position in a way that suggests they're not just snotty, hysterical morons, I'd love to hear it.