The UCI has announced that it is launching disciplinary proceedings against Team RadioShack “for breaching the regulations governing riders clothing.” The American squad took to the start of Sunday’s final stage of the Tour de France wearing an all-black kit advertising Lance Armstrong’s Livestrong charity rather than their usual RadioShack jerseys, but failed to inform race commissaires beforehand.
The official start of the stage was delayed to allow the RadioShack riders to change back into their regulation colours. After the race, the RadioShack team took to the podium for the presentation of the team classification prize dressed in the contentious Livestrong kit.
A statement issued on Monday said, “The UCI regrets that an initiative for a cause as worthy as the fight against cancer was not coordinated beforehand with the Commissaires and organisers of the event. This could have been done whilst remaining within the rules.
“Team RadioShack’s incorrect behaviour led to a 20-minute delay to the start of the final stage, which could have disrupted the televised coverage of the race, placing the Commissaires under the obligation to impose a fine on each rider and the team managers.
“Team RadioShack subsequently breached the regulations by wearing an incorrect uniform on the podium for the protocol ceremony having been instructed not to.”
During the stage itself, RadioShack manager Johan Bruyneel vented his frustration via Twitter, fuming “Ok people! Now it’s official! To be a race commissar you don’t need brains but only know the rules! Their motto: ‘c’est le reglement!’”
It appears that such comments have also stoked the ire of the UCI, and Bruyneel will be called before the UCI Disciplinary Commission to explain his remarks, which the UCI statement deems “utterly unacceptable” and offensive “to all the Commissaires working in cycling.”
The UCI also announced that as RadioShack’s black jersey were worn in an attempt to raise awareness of the global flight against cancer, any fines levied in the matter will be donated to the Swiss cancer charity Ligue suisse contre le cancer.
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Barry Ryan is Head of Features at Cyclingnews. He has covered professional cycling since 2010, reporting from the Tour de France, Giro d’Italia and events from Argentina to Japan. His writing has appeared in The Independent, Procycling and Cycling Plus. He is the author of The Ascent: Sean Kelly, Stephen Roche and the Rise of Irish Cycling’s Golden Generation, published by Gill Books.