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By VeloNews Interactive , Copyright AFP 2002
After announcing last Friday that the first major stage race of the 2002 season, Paris-Nice, scheduled March 10-17, would “almost certainly be canceled,” race owner Laurent Fignon recommenced negotiations with the Société du Tour de France this week. On Thursday evening in Paris, an agreement was reached between the two parties for Paris-Nice to be sold to ASO (Amaury Sport Organisation), parent company of the Tour society, which will do its utmost to ensure that the race takes place this year.
Discussions broke down last week between ASO and Fignon, the two-time Tour de France winner, who told AFP, “I was in agreement with the resale price, but not with the conditions of payment. I would be left without a cent.” Fignon, who estimated that an extra $300,000 was needed to retain the event, later told L’Équipe that the discussions were conducted “dishonestly.”
Over the weekend, IMG Switzerland — promoter of the Tour of Switzerland and Tour de Romandie — made an offer for the race. But Fignon backpedaled, and he said Thursday, “We have overcome all the problems that we faced.” ASO announced: “Despite the proximity of the race … which will make the organizers’ work difficult, ASO will do the maximum for the 2002 Paris-Nice to take place in the best sporting and technical conditions.”