French newspapers were proclaiming a "bombshell" in world cycling this weekend, when -- for the first time -- top amateurs competed against professional cyclists in one of France's major road races.
GV Racing staring point and crowd. (2 shots)
CU Cyclist prepares cycle.
SV Mytnik (68) and Kacznarek (64) starting.
SV AND CV Cameraman photographing Van Katwyck (107) and team-mate starting. (3 shots)
SV AND CU Hellwig (96) and Ruch (98) start.
CU AND SV Crowd watch as Aja (39) and Melero (37) start. (2 shots)
SV AND PAN Poulidor (1) and Zoetemelk (2) mount and start. (2 shots)
SV Poulidor and Zoetemelk followed by team cars.
SV PAN Wuytack (58) and Van Marcke (57) along route.
SV PAN Galdeano (40) and Ayastuy (33) along route.
Initials JW/VS 3.18 JW/VS 3.30
SPORT - CYCLING
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Background: French newspapers were proclaiming a "bombshell" in world cycling this weekend, when -- for the first time -- top amateurs competed against professional cyclists in one of France's major road races.
Capturing the headlines at the start of the week-long Paris-Nice race was the amateur Polish national team. The race gives them their first opportunity to compete against such giants of professional cycling as Merckx, Gimonc??? and Poulidor.
Though such professional amateur contests have been sanctioned by the International Cycling Union for the last two years, they have run up against opposition from professional promoters in France. And there have been demands that the racing has to be on a reciprocal basis, with countries where cycling has been kept an amateur sport inviting the professionals to participate. So, two French professional teams are due to take part in the next Tour of Poland.
According to one French newspaper, the start of the Paris-Nice race on Saturday (9 March) demolished barriers which had stood between amateurs and professionals for the last 60 years.
The field for the race was made up of 120 competitors, divided into 12 teams. The prizes -- for the professionals -- total just under GBP 7,000 sterling - the winner taking a car valued at some GBP 2,000 sterling.
SYNOPSIS: Amateur cyclists competed against world famous professionals for the first time in one of France's major road races at the weekend.
Cycling history was made as two members of the strictly-amateur Polish National Team set out on the tough Paris-to-Nice race.
The remainder of the twelve teams taking part in the seven-day classic are all professionals. But the innovation inspired one French newspaper to proclaim a "bombshell" in world cycle racing -- demolishing the barriers that have divided amateurs and professional cyclists for the last sixty years. The International Cycling Union had sanctioned amateur-professional racing two years ago.
Number One, Raymond Poulidor, is one of the best-known professionals taking part in this year's race. Another of the star names -- Eddy Merckx -- was asked his re-action to riding against amateurs. He said he is completely in favour of open cycle races. This seven-day event ends in Nice on March the sixteenth. And the prizes total seven thousand pounds sterling.