Sponsor claims that UCI were complicit with Armstrong in covering up doping
23:13 GMT, 5 November 2012
Pressure continued to mount on the International Cycling Union (UCI) on Monday with one sponsor claiming the organisation was 'complicit' in sweeping the Lance Armstrong doping scandal under the carpet.
Jaimie Fuller, chairman of the Australian sportswear firm Skins that has ploughed around 10million US dollars into the UCI over the last five years, says the scandal has caused reputational damage to the sponsors.
The firm has served a legal notice on the UCI claiming 2million dollars (1.25m) in compensation.
Fuller said: 'This is a ground-breaking move and it's one of those situations that could become case law for the future.
'When a sport is in trouble you look to
the international federation to help it through. It's a pretty rare
situation where the international federation is actually complicit in
what was going on.'
Fuller also claimed that UCI president
Pat McQuaid and his predecessor and honorary president Hein Verbruggen
needed to accept responsibility for the failure to deal with Armstrong,
who was last month stripped of his seven Tour de France titles.
'These two gentleman have sat at the top of world cycling for 22 years and they need to be accountable for what they did and did not do,' said Fuller.
Meanwhile, British cyclist David Millar says the UCI need to make a full apology.
Millar told the Guardian:
'The UCI need to be very careful, because the momentum is rolling too
fast for them to control it. Just as with Lance Armstrong, we'll reach
another tipping point soon. I sense the same looming crash with the UCI –
unless they act decisively.
don't think they realise what everyone needs is immediate action.
They're trying to go through the usual sports politics way of trying to
ride this out until people forget about it. These are career sports
politicians. But they cannot evade this any longer. They have to act
quickly or they're going to face a total revolt and they'll be out
Under pressure: Millar demanded a full apology
'Now there is a
public awakening and the UCI will be in real trouble unless they make a
full apology. There seems to be some unbreakable alliance between
McQuaid and Verbruggen. Pat needs to cut that cord and move forward. He
needs to wake up to the fact that some revolutions become unstoppable.'
McQuaid and Verbruggen did not respond to requests to comment on Fuller's claims when contacted.
The UCI later released a statement in which it stated steps it has taken since the Armstrong affair became public, including setting up an independent commission to examine the issues raised.
The statement read: 'The UCI can confirm that it has received a letter from the chairman of Skins International Trading AG.
'In the years that Skins have been a sponsor, since 2008, cycling has been a completely different sport from what it was during the period 1998-2005, when tests for EPO did not exist.
'Since the dark period of Lance Armstrong, cycling has been a pioneer in the fight against doping in sport under the leadership of the UCI and this role has been recognised by WADA. For example, it was the UCI that first introduced the urinary EPO test, the homologous blood transfusion test and the Athlete Biological Passport programme.
Fallout: Armstrong has been stripped of all seven of his Tour de France
'As a result, today's riders are subject to the most innovative and effective anti-doping procedures and regulations in sport.
'Today, cycling has enjoyed a huge boost in visibility and popularity, as was apparent at the London 2012 Olympic Games.
'The UCI is determined to turn around this painful episode in the history of our sport. We will take whatever actions are deemed necessary by the independent commission and we will put cycling back on track.
'While we understand the concerns expressed by Skins, the UCI is determined to work hand in hand with all cycling's stakeholders towards the same goal, which is to safeguard the integrity and future wellbeing of the sport.
'The UCI has listened to the world's reaction to the Lance Armstrong affair and the USADA report and has taken decisive steps in response to the grave concerns raised, including setting up a fully independent commission.
'The UCI is determined that this independent commission will just be the start of the process and nothing will be off the agenda.'