Former Polti rider Luc Leblanc has turned towards the court of first instance in Bobigny, France, to a bid to recover wages owed by the team management company since 1999. The 1994 World Champion was sacked in December 1998, one year before the end of his contract, and decided to sue Polti for illegal dismissal.
The management company of the now defunct team, Il Gabbiano, was owned by Gianluigi Stanga and did not have the resources to pay Leblanc, which is why the Italian federation (FCI) was made liable in 2001. However, the FCI refused to make the payment despite heavy pressure from the UCI, and tried to free itself from the responsibility in 2002. The UCI even threatened to suspend the FCI over the affair.
"It's an exemplary case," Leblanc's attorney Brusa told French media on Monday. "Il Gabbiano has disappeared, but its manager M. Stanga has created a different structure, Cyclo Sport, for the team Milram which obtained a ProTour license." Leblanc is now suing the FCI, the French cycling federation (FFC) as well as the UCI, "which put its head in the sand in this affair, and tried to gain time more than anything."