UCI president Pat McQuaid answers a question during a press conference held during the UCI road world championships in Valkenburg.
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Sponsor thought doping was 'contained' and scandals 'minimised'
The sports clothing manufacturer SKINS has launched a $2 million law suit against the UCI, claiming that their brand name has been damaged by the UCI’s governance of the sport in the wake of the recent doping headlines. The sport has been rocked by USADA’s case into Lance Armstrong and the US Postal team. The fallout has involved a number of other teams and riders.
The clothing company has been in the sport since 2008 and worked with a number of teams and organisations, including CyclingAustralia, BikeNZ, USA Cycling, Rabobank Professional Cycling Team, Team Europcar, Team NetApp and Team Telekom.
The SKINS legal representative has written to the UCI, stating: “As a supplier and a sponsor, SKINS is particularly concerned by its brand image and since it strongly believes in the true spirit of competition, it is firmly against doping.”
“When it decided to invest in cycling not only as a sponsor but also in extending its product range through massive investments in R&D, SKINS was under the illusion that professional cycling had been fundamentally reformed to contain doping and to minimise the risks of scandals with which the brand of any sponsor could be associated,” the letter continues.
The USADA case investigated doping throughout Armstrong’s career but focused primarily on his career from 1998 until 2005.
According to the letter, the UCI’s handling of the anti-doping fight “harms SKINS, as well as any other sponsor or supplier. Therefore, the acts and omissions by the UCI, Henricus Verbruggen respectively Patrick McQuaid have caused the prejudice SKINS now suffers, which prejudice exceeds the amount of USD 2,000,000, sum which the latter intends to recover through the Courts.”