SNEKKERSTEN, Denmark — The world cycling governing body suspended the French federation for the rest of the year for a breach of rules.

The International Cycling Union said French officials were disloyal and broke the governing body's rules when they sided with organizers of the Paris-Nice race in March.

The French federation ignored the UCI's warnings it would be punished for going ahead with the Paris-Nice race using French rules and doping controls.

The UCI sanctions made no mention of the three-week Tour de France, cycling's signature event scheduled to start July 5.

UCI president Pat McQuaid said the governing body rejected an option to exclude French riders from world championships races and the Beijing Olympics.

The UCI has been in a long-running power struggle with race organizer Amaury Sports Organization, which also runs the Tour de France.

McQuaid said the punishment was "a strong decision that demonstrates that the UCI will not tolerate one of its members flouting international cycling regulations."

But FFC president Jean Pitallier disagreed.

"It's terrible to take that position," Pitallier told The Associated Press.

The French federation paid the price for its support of ASO, which UCI has accused of trying to set up a rival governing body.

Pitallier said the UCI suspension was not a concern for riders but would prevent the FFC from organizing competitions such as world championships.

During the suspension period, French officials are banned from taking part in the UCI Congress in September in Varese, Italy, and cannot nominate candidates for elections.

The French penalties will be discussed by other national federations at the congress.