France Slaps Unibet Cycling Team with Another 'No'

10 July 2007

The embattled Unibet cycling team was dealt another setback today as a French court confirmed the decision of Amaury Sport Organization (ASO) not to invite the team to participate in this year’s Tour de France, which began on Saturday in London.

Although the Unibet team is a member of cycling’s Pro Tour, it has been denied entrance to a number of races this year due to laws prohibiting the advertisement of gambling operations within nations where Pro Tour races are being held.

Despite the protests of the International Cycling Union (UCI), which organizes the Pro Tour, ASO officials decided not to invite Unibet to the Tour de France due to the fact that racing under their sponsor’s logo would constitute a violation of French law.

Although members of the Unibet team appealed this rejection to a French court in Nanterre, their appeal was rejected on Tuesday due to conflicts with existing legislation.

ASO officials seemed pleased with the decision, claiming that they were simply trying to obey the law and expressing pleasure that the "legal harassment" on the part of Unibet had come to an end.

However, ASO president Patrice Clerc took this claim further, condemning the efforts of UCI in pushing the Unibet matter forward and leaving the team with what he described as "broken promises."

The Tour, without Unibet, will continue until July 29.