The French cycling federation (FFC) has lost its appeal in the case versus Patrice Sulpice, who crashed while training in preparation for the Worlds in Colombia, in 1995. The FFC has already paid over 600,000 euro and appealed to have to pay the rest. While the court of appeals in Chambéry sided with Sulpice, it reduced the initial amount required to pay, 1.35 million euro, to just over a million, according to AFP.
In 2001 a court in Chambéry had ruled that the FFC and the UCI (International Cycling Federation) were responsible for this accident by not coordinating the training sessions properly. In 2004 the court did rule that it was an unintentional accident, but faulted the federation for not informing the rider of additional insurance that would have covered the accident.
Sulpice declared that "I am relieved that after a battle of 12 and a half years, there is finally a nice victory. I have not won the lottery. It's a reparation of a damage." He is working today part-time at a bike store in Chambéry.
Sulpice had initially tried to get the responsible national and international cycling organisations to pay for damages. After his effort was fruitless he went after the FFC. The French cycling federation was innocent in the accident, but was found to be at fault for not providing enough information about the sufficient insurance.
The lawyer of Sulpice, El-Hem Selini, said to the press that in 1995 Sulpice was "practicing a dangerous sport like many others and benefited from a ridiculously low base insurance." The appeals court estimated that Sulpice could have recovered 75% of the largest insurance amount offered by an insurance company, had he gotten better advise from the FFC.
The lawyer for the FFC stated that "the federations need to have the possibility of informing the athletes and have assurance that they are sufficiently informed," pointing out the practical difficulty of such a procedure. It is not expected that the FFC will appeal the decision at a higher court.
Sulpice said that "Twelve years earlier, my life was shattered. I had to think differently, live differently, it took time to escape this psychological slump." He added that "now I have to reconstruct my life, live like everybody else, but in an armchair."