Leicestershire policeman Michael Matts was jailed for one year for a series of frauds, some relating to the bogus Pedaltech team he attempted to launch for the 2008 season.
British riders including Cervelo’s Dan Lloyd and Dan Fleeman, and former British champion Hamish Haynes, were left team-less at the start of the year as Matts’ lies started to unravel and the planned continuation of the Belgium-based DFL squad under the Pedaltech banner disintegrated.
Matts admitted fraud between March 2007 and 2008 by falsely telling Leicestershire Police he was absent due to illness. Matts received widespread sympathy from the cycling community when he claimed to have cancer in January, 2008, as the proposed team collapsed and co-sponsors pulled out.
But Matts’ radiotherapy sessions turned out to be an invention, and this was not the first time his employer had been duped. The 34 year old also admitted obtaining financial benefit by receiving police pay when falsely claiming he was unfit to work with cancer between July 2004 and January 2005.
His now-former wife even brought forward their wedding date, concerned that Matts may be dying, while the police officer worked on setting up a small bike shop in East Shilton, Leicestershire, and committing a series of frauds relating to the cycle team.
Fleeman and Lloyd found places with Sean Kelly’s AN Post team for 2008. Haynes stayed in Belgium, riding for amateur squad Yawadoo, while the remainder of the British contingent rode British races as Team Lacuna, with ‘for sale’ emblazoned across their chests.