Unibet cycle team to disband


RIP Brian
Feb 22, 2001

A sad end to a great sporting partnership

Online gambling group Unibet.com has announced the end of a great sporting sponsored partnership, and the Unibet internationally respected cycling team is to disband at the end of this year as a consequence, reports the Associated Press news service.

The decision by the Swedish gambling company follows a long drawn-out dispute with French race organisers, who refused to invite the team because France bans foreign gambling advertising. The Unibet team was excluded from taking part in this year's Tour de France, and was also banned from the Paris-Nice road race in the three way cross-fire between French bureaucracy, the race organisers and Unibet.

Despite the support of the International Cycling Union and the opinion of European Union regulators, it proved impossible to change the tunnel vision thinking of the race organisers on the bans.

Team general manager Koen Terryn told European media this week: "We expected it. The riders are free to look for a job with other teams." Terryn went on to criticise the Amaury Sports Organization, which runs the Tour de France, for excluding the team from the race.

"We're the victim of the steps taken by the ASO," he claimed.

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