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UCI's failure to silence LeMond

By:
Daniel Benson and Susan Westemeyer
Published:
October 04, 2012, 9:39 BST,
Updated:
October 04, 2012, 17:27 BST
Edition:
Second Edition Cycling News, Thursday, October 4, 2012
Greg LeMond in attendance at the 2012 Tour of the Battenkill

Greg LeMond in attendance at the 2012 Tour of the Battenkill

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Three-time Tour winner speaks out

Although a court in Switzerland has ruled that Floyd Landis is unable to call UCI officials corrupt, attempts by the UCI to silence Greg LeMond’s similar allegations have proven unsuccessful. In an email to Cyclingnews, LeMond cited emails he had received from UCI president Pat McQuaid in 2006 and in 2008 in which the sport’s governing body asked LeMond to retract allegations of corruption he levelled at them.

In 2006 LeMond gave an interview to L'Equipe in which he questioned the validity of the Vrijman report which looked into Lance Armstrong’s 1999 Tour de France samples. The three-time Tour winner also told the French publication that Operacion Puerto “is another example, the entire system is corrupt, the UCI is corrupt."

The interview was followed up by a letter from the UCI asking LeMond to retract his statements or face a legal case. LeMond’s response was a drafted letter through his US attorneys at the time, Robins, Kaplan Millar and Ciresi. Along with debating the definition of corruption, the letter also spelled out that a Swiss court had no jurisdiction over LeMond: a sentiment reiterated on Wednesday when lawyers representing Floyd Landis argued the same standpoint over a defamation case involving Landis and the UCI. The UCI are also involved with a defamation case involving the former Sunday Times writer Paul Kimmage.

In LeMond’s letter, his legal team also point out the UCI have defamed L'Equipe  by stating that: “known to have questionable ethics.”

The returning letter to the UCI also states:

“In your July 26 letter, you accuse Mr. LeMond of committing criminal infringement and then demand that he either (1) corroborate his alleged accusations; or (2) withdraw his alleged accusations publicly. You also “suggest to discuss the way to proceed.” Obviously, Greg LeMond’s public retraction of his statements regarding UCI is something of value to UCI. Indeed, you would not have written your letter to Mr. LeMond and demanded the same unless it had value to your organization. Under United States’ law, threatening criminal prosecution in order to obtain “any money or other valuable thing” is a federal crime. See 18 U.S.C. 0 873. Violations of section 873 require a fine and imprisonment for not more than one year.”

Yesterday a Swiss court issued an order against Landis in which he is prohibited from saying certain things about the UCI, McQuaid and Verbruggen, including that they “are corrupt”. Landis claims never to have been served on the lawsuit, which ruled he had defamed the others.

 

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