Australian clothing company SKINS is to sue the Union Cycliste International (UCI) for $2,000,000 claiming the governing body’s inability run a clean sport has caused the company to suffer significant prejudice.

Acting on behalf of SKINS, Cedric Aguett of Swiss law firm Bonnard Son wrote to the UCI on November 2 saying that SKINS had made a massive investment in the cycling market ‘under the illusion that professional cycling had been fundamentally reformed to contain doping’ after the 1998 Festina scandal.

The letter goes on to say that the USADA case in to Lance Armstrong and the organised doping program in his teams, and the way the UCI, Hein Verbruggen and Pat McQuaid have organised the fight against doping has resulted in the total loss of confidence in professional cycling by the public.

In a statement printed on it’s own website SKINS CEO Jamie Fuller said; “As a company we have invested heavily into research and development to build a sports-specific product range aimed at those who participate at every level. We did all this while under the impression that cycling had been fundamentally reformed after the Festina affair in the ‘90’s and that co-ordinated management from the UCI to contain doping activity had minimised the risks and scandals with which the brand of any sponsor would be associated.”

“The events of the last several months or so have made it abundantly clear that world cycling has not been the sport the general public and the corporate partners thought it was. Consequently, as Chairman of a company that has made a significant financial and emotional investment, I am acting in order to send a message to the UCI and its senior office bearers that gross mis-management and betrayal of trust is completely unacceptable.”

“it is now clear that Skins’ financial and emotional investment into cycling has been damaged and our legitimate commercial expectations have been betrayed. If the public no longer have confidence that cycling is ‘clean’ they may question those who support its existence.”

SKINS was founded in 1996 and backs Cycling Australia, Bike NZ, USA Cycling, Team Europcar, Team NetApp and the former Rabobank team. It also has sponsorship deals in triathlon, golf, rugby, cricket and snowsports.

It specialises in compression clothing that is banned in competition under UCI rules.

Related links

Statement on SKINS website

  • jonp

    As much as I don’t trust the UCI, I trust opportuist commercial lawyers even less. No win no fee anybody?

  • Mike

    Skins were/are? used by pro teams for recovery. Not sure if they still are. Banned for use during competition though.
    I believe this is a good thing as it keeps the pressure on the UCI cronies. If companies can discredit the UCI top management we may yet get a change in structure and focus for our sport.
    It’s well overdue.

  • Ken Evans

    Ban a piece of clothing fabric, but allow doping !

    Glad to see that the UCI have got their priorities right.

    (This is why I could never be the President of the UCI.)

  • William Hirst

    Another story showing UCI’s reputation well and truly in the toilet. Maybe the UCI needs to dissolved and a new governing body for the sport established. It happened with the BCF in the nineties. What came out of that messy affair was British Cycling, and we all know what a huge success that has become.

  • BeSpoke

    So a manufacturer of “compression clothing that is banned in competition under UCI rules” wants to sue the UCI to recover losses due to public loss in confidence in cycling….. Sounds very dubious to me. Probably has more to do with recovery of losses due to having their clothing banned.