Health Mate abuse case highlights major flaws in the system

Health Mate Ladies Team (UCI Women's Team)
(Image credit: Getty Images)

It’s been almost three years since the first of four female riders lodged a formal complaint of abuse against Health Mate-Cyclelive team manager Patrick Van Gansen with the UCI Ethics Commission, and while he was found guilty of violating the sport’s code of ethics and handed a partially retroactive suspension of two years and seven months by the Disciplinary Commission, many believe that his sanction was not long enough given the severity of his offenses.

The four riders who filed formal complaints - and the seven other women who gave corroborating testimonies in the media - might feel a sense of closure knowing that Van Gansen has been found guilty and has been suspended, however, this case shines a light on the major flaws in the system - everything from transparency to victim’s rights, resources and awareness, and to the struggle that victims of abuse continue to endure long after filing formal complaints.

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Kirsten Frattini
Deputy Editor

Kirsten Frattini is the Deputy Editor of Cyclingnews, overseeing the global racing content plan.

Kirsten has a background in Kinesiology and Health Science. She has been involved in cycling from the community and grassroots level to professional cycling's biggest races, reporting on the WorldTour, Spring Classics, Tours de France, World Championships and Olympic Games.

She began her sports journalism career with Cyclingnews as a North American Correspondent in 2006. In 2018, Kirsten became Women's Editor – overseeing the content strategy, race coverage and growth of women's professional cycling – before becoming Deputy Editor in 2023.