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French Cycling Federation may get into financial trouble

The French Cycling Federation (FFC) was ordered to pay 1.35 million euro to former track rider Patrice Sulpice, who is paraplegic since an accident at the Worlds in Bogota in 1995. Sulpice was 21 at the time. He had collided with a teammate at high speed during a training session.

The FFC will appeal the decision, but it was ordered Tuesday to pay half of the sum immediately. "To pay this we would have to sell our main office and lay off the staff," FFC's president Jean Pitallier told AFP. "This is obviously a tragic situation, but we ask for a reasonable delay until the appeal's court decision has been made," Pitallier added.

French cycling lawyer Paul Mauriac said, "we proposed a payment scheme that lies within the possibilities of the Federation." Should the former rider not accept this proposal there will be additional legal proceedings.

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.

Patrice Sulpice, 32 years of age today, told RTL that "I reconstructed my life and I am independent. I'd like to live just like anybody else. The world of sports disgusts me."

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