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"It has been decided that anyone who organizes a race in the Netherlands has to pay a certain amount to the fedration. That goes for the Ronde van Drenthe, but also for the Tour de France."

Photo: A.S.O.




05.11.2015 @ 09:00 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

The Dutch Cycling Federation will still require ASO to pay 140,000 euros for the Tour de France start in Utrecht. "ASO should just stick to the rules that apply in the Netherlands," KNWU director Huib Kloosterhuis tells NOS.


However,  former president of the Cycling Federation, Joop Atsma, has a different view. "It is a ridiculous action," he says.


Rules are rules, according to the federation. "It has been decided that anyone who organizes a race in the Netherlands has to pay a certain amount to the fedration. That goes for the Ronde van Drenthe, but also for the Tour de France," says Kloosterhuis. "ASO is aware of those rules, but decided not to follow them," says the director of the Dutch Cycling Federation.


But whether ASO actually must abide by these rules and whether the level of the amount is justified, Kloosterhuis is not sure. "No, we are trying to test that via the arbitration case with the UCI." Kloosterhuis has already sent the bill to ASO. "We had already discussed it with ASO in April last year."



Those words, however, are contradicted by Natalya Talitsch, spokeswoman for the Tour start in Utrecht. "In November last year we suddenly got a three-line note from KNWU (the federation, ed.) that asked us to pay just 140,000 euro. We did not do so because we only facilitated the race, we did not organize it. We then informed ASO that we had referred KNWU to them. ASO was quite willing to pay but not so much," says Talitsch.


It was the same for the grand depart in Rotterdam in 2010. "The National Federation wanted 50,000 plus grandstand tickets and VIP cards," recalls Hans den Oudendammer, director of Rotterdam Topsport. "50,000 while they were not involved in the organization. Only for goodwill and solidarity with the federation. We found that amount too high, eventually we gave them about half that sum. They were not happy but they accepted it.



The National Federation tried to do it in the same way, but because Utrecht refused to pay, they had to go to ASO. Joop Atsma, former president of the National Federation and a former board member of the UCI, criticizes the behaviour of the federation. "This is a very bad story," he says. "The National Federation should never send such bills to ASO afterwards and the arbitration case at the UCI must stop immediately."


According to Atsma, the action of the Cycling Federation is bad for the image of the country and will reduce the chance of possible starts of grand tours in the future. "A completely wrong signal is counterproductive. We can turn back the clock. The organizers of the Tour, Vuelta and Giro is really not waiting for such actions, and they will choose another country."


Kloosterhuis does not worry too much. "Then we will watch the Tour de France on TV? Maybe you should ask yourself if the Tour just has to be held in France."  



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