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Tour de France protest: Deal offered to appease winemakers

A sponsorship deal has been offered in an attempt to prevent French winemakers from blocking the Tour de France - but winemakers have not yet agreed to the offer.

Last week at an agricultural show in Paris, Jerôme Despey, president of the FranceAgriMer viticulture council, and Christian Prud’homme, of the Amaury Sport Organisation (ASO), announced a sponsorship agreement between the the two to avoid the protest and blocking of the Tour de France.

Winemakers in the Languedoc were threatening to block the Tour de France over a sponsorship deal with Chilean wine group Cono Sur.

‘We discussed the possibility of bringing winemakers to “village du Tour” at the beginning and end of each stage of the Tour’, said Prud’homme.

He added that he was ‘surprised’ by the controversy because the agreement with Chilean wineries dates back to 2014.

Speaking to the Agence France Presse, Despey added, ‘It would be an error to block the Tour de France’.

However, when talking to Decanter.com, Frédéric Rouanet, president of Vignerons de l’Aude, denies the existence of an agreement between ASO and winemakers.

‘Mr Prud’homme should come and present his proposals to the Syndicat on the 10th May’ he said. ‘For the time being, we have decided nothing and we are maintaining our positions’.

Rouanet continued, ‘this agreement concerns only Mr Prud’homme and Mr Despey, not the winemakers… If we do not agree, we will block the Tour de France’.

The current agreement is based on winemakers’ ability to promote their wines during departures and arrivals at each stage of the Tour de France.

Bicicleta, the Cono Sur wine, can only partner with the Tour de France on its foreign stages, because the Evin Law does not allow alcoholic beverages at sporting events in France.

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