Paris-Nice/ProTour olive branch?

Things are looking slightly better on the other side of the pond as CyclingNews is reporting that the UCI and ASO/RCS/Unipublic seem to have somehow hammered out temporary grievances long enough for Paris-Nice and the rest of the cycling season to go forward. There is a bit of a cloud over Unibet and Astana in that they get wild card invitations to the organizers events, with caveats:

"Without prejudicing their right to grant wild cards to all other teams of their choice, for the duration of this agreement ASO, RCS and Unipublic will examine in a positive spirit the granting of wild cards to the teams Astana and Unibet, in particular insofar as such decisions are not likely to expose or be likely to expose the organisers to legal consequences, of whatever nature they might be."

This clause seems to mostly target Unibet. Unibet's team has been in trouble as their jerseys run afoul of French laws prohibiting advertisements for gambling that compete with the French national lottery FD Jeux (coincidentally, also a cycling team).

The silliest bit of the whole deal to me is that ASO/RCS/Unipublic seem to have won the concession that they don't have to award the ProTour jersey at their events. I mean, they handed out awards for best port-a-potty at the Tour of California Solvang time trial -- is it really that hard to acknowledge the current ProTour leader (likely to be a fan favorite anyway)?

With things looking better over there, hopefully so miracles will start happening in the US to rescue the US Open Cycling Championships and Tour de Georgia, which are in a serious funding shortfall. The US Cycling Open in particular lost is executive director with only six weeks to go. As much as I wanted to judge the state of US cycling from the Tour of California, it may just be in an oasis in the current turmoil.

Update: slight edits and note about jersey presentation

Update 2: the US Open Cycling Championships have named a new executive director. Also, Unibet is not happy.

related articles: Pro Tour 2007
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