UCI Sued By Sponsor For £1.25m

Australian clothing firm SKINS has threatened to sue the governing body of cycling, UCI, for its failure to crack down on doping and run a clean sport.

The Australian company’s Swiss lawyers wrote to UCI saying the company had been involved in professional cycling since 2008 in the belief that the sport had cleaned up its act after the 1998 Tour de France that was hit by scandals. In a statement issued through its lawyers, the company said it concluded that it must revise that view. The statement reads SKINS, as a supplier and sponsor, is particularly concerned with its brand image and is firmly against doping as it strongly believes in the true spirit of competition.

The company said it had acted accordingly after the Lance Armstrong scandal, which saw the Texan stripped of his seven Tour de France titles after a USADA investigation into alleged systematic doping. It was indicated by the firm that the manner in which the governing body of cycling dealt with the case of the disgraced cyclist and its fight against doping in general is the primary reason for the total loss of confidence in professional cycling by the public and added that this loss of credibility and confidence for cycling “harms SKINS, as well as any other sponsor or supplier.”

The company sponsors Cycling Australia, USA Cycling, the Rabobank, Europcar and Telekom teams and BikeNZ in New Zealand, among others.

Meanwhile, a giant effigy of Lance Armstrong went up in flames recently as part of one of the biggest bonfire parties in the UK. The cyclist, accused by the USADA of using and promoting the use of performance enhancing drugs, was stripped of his seven Tour de France titles and banned for life, pipped the likes of Jimmy Savile and Chancellor George Osborne after suggestions from members of the public. The effigy came complete with a ‘Jim Fixed It For Me’ medallion and a sign which read ‘For sale, Racing bike no longer required’.

In another development, the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) has applauded the USADA for its case against the disgraced cyclist who was accused by some of his former teammates of using and encouraging the use of performance enhancing drugs within the USPS team. WADA recently said that it would not appeal against the sanctions imposed by the USADA on Armstrong and said WADA has no concerns as to the complete process and the overwhelming weight of evidence against the cyclist. USADA accused the Texan rider of spearheading “the most sophisticated, professionalised and successful doping programme that sport has ever seen”.

The seven-time champion of Tour de France was accused by teammates including Frankie Andreu, George Hincapie, Floyd Landis, and Tyler Hamilton of using EPO, growth hormone, and other performance enhancing drugs. The veteran American cyclist who raced alongside Lance Armstrong during all of his seven Tour de France victories, Hincapie, said he made use of banned substances during his professional career and remarked he is looking forward to play a substantial role to develop, encourage, and help young riders to compete and win with the best in the world.

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