altSEPTEMBER 26 - The International Cycling Union (UCI) and the Tour de France organisers have reached an agreement that puts an end to their long-running feud over the sport's calendar and which threatened riders eligibility to ride in the 2012 Olympics.


Talks had been underway since the Beijing Olympics last month when Marie-Odile Amaury, head of the Amaury Sport Organisation (ASO), which owns the Tour de France, approached the UCI to settle their dispute.


ASO and the UCI had been at odds since the launching in 2005 of the UCI ProTour series, which was seen by the organisers of the big Tours as a means by the UCI to take over their broadcasting and marketing rights.


Pat McQuaid, the Irish president of the UCI, who is in Varese for the World Road Championships, handed documents to the head of the French Cycling Federation (FFC), Jean Pitallier, informing him that all charges against the FFC had been dropped.


This year's Tour de France was held under the jurisdiction of the FFC because of the feud between the UCI and ASO.


As a result, the FFC, which held other ASO races outside the UCI's umbrella, faced exclusion by the sport's governing body, which could have prevented French riders from competing at the World Championships or the 2012 Olympic Games.


News of the agreement came after former UCI president and controversial International Olympic Committee member Hein Verbruggen, often described by ASO as the main obstacle to a deal, announced he was giving up his position as UCI vice-president.