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Verbruggen: Italian World Cups may be dropped

Two of cycling's most celebrated one-day classics could be pulled from next year’s 10-race World Cup series because of an ongoing dispute over television rights, UCI president Hein Verbruggen said Monday. During a presentation of the Union Cyclist Internationale’s World Cup schedule, Verbruggen said that Milan-San Remo, the World Cup opener in March, and the season-ending Tour of Lombardy could be pulled off the calendar because Italian broadcasters RAI are still at odds with the European broadcasting authority over financing. The consequence is that the races have little coverage

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By VeloNews Interactive wire services , Copyright AFP2002

Two of cycling’s most celebrated one-day classics could be pulled from next year’s 10-race World Cup series because of an ongoing dispute over television rights, UCI president Hein Verbruggen said Monday.

During a presentation of the Union Cyclist Internationale’s World Cup schedule, Verbruggen said that Milan-San Remo, the World Cup opener in March, and the season-ending Tour of Lombardy could be pulled off the calendar because Italian broadcasters RAI are still at odds with the European broadcasting authority over financing.

The consequence is that the races have little coverage except in Italy.

“The situation we’ve had since the past two years is now no longer acceptable,” said Verbruggen. “We need guaranteed television coverage. Otherwise, it seems logical to me that the races should no longer be part of the World Cup.

“The problem is RAI’s conflict with the UER (European broadcasters),” he charged. “For the past two years, we have been a victim of this conflict.”

It is believed that efforts are being made for RAI to resolve their conflict, and are said to be in talks with RCS – the company that organizes Milan-San Remo, the Tour of Lombardy and the Giro d’Italia.