A Swiss court has ruled in favour of the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) in its defamation case against former professional rider Floyd Landis.
Current UCI president Pat McQuaid and former UCI president Hein Verbruggen had lodged a petition with the Swiss courts on April 29 2011 regarding several allegations made by Landis about the pair’s conduct, particularly regarding the concealment of positive doping tests.
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Landis was ordered by the Eastern Vaud District Court on September 26 2012 to pay a compensation to McQuaid and Verbruggen of CHF 10,000, pay court costs and legal fees and to place an advert publicising the findings of the court in the publications through which Landis made his allegations. The media outlets involved are Wall Street Journal, L’Equipe, Le Temps, NYVelocity.com, Cyclingnews.com, Velonation.com, Velonews.com and De Volksrant. Landis was not present in court.
In a brief statement issued on Wednesday, the UCI underlined its intent to protect its name from allegations: “False accusations are unacceptable and unlawful and the UCI will continue to defend itself against all such accusations.”
According to the court’s decision, Landis is now prohibited from mentioning a string of accusations against the UCI, McQuaid and Verbruggen which the ruling outlined as:
“…that the Union Cycliste Internationale, Patrick (Pat) McQuaid and/or Henricus (Hein) Verbruggen have concealed cases of doping, received money for doing so, have accepted money from Lance Armstrong to conceal a doping case, have protected certain racing cyclists, concealed cases of doping, have engaged in manipulation, particularly of tests and races, have hesitated and delayed publishing the results of a positive test on Alberto Contador, have accepted bribes, are corrupt, are terrorists, have no regard for the rules, load the dice, are fools, do not have a genuine desire to restore discipline to cycling, are full of shit, are clowns, their words are worthless, are liars, are no different to Colonel Muammar Gaddafi, or to make any similar other allegations of that kind.”
The Swiss court’s ruling has particular resonance given the forthcoming, similar case against Irish journalist Paul Kimmage. However, where Landis refused to have anything to do with the case brought against him by the UCI, Kimmage is intending on disputing the charges against him in person.
Landis failed a test for adverse ratio of testosterone/epitestosterone at the 2006 Tour de France. He subsequently denied that he doped, and even published a book – Positively False – protesting his innocence but was suspended from competition and stripped of the 2006 Tour title.
Then, in May 2010 Landis admitted that he had used banned blood doping techniques and performance enhacing substances during his professional career. More damning, though, was that he implicated others, including former US Postal team-mate Lance Armstrong and that the UCI had been implicit in covering up an alleged positive test returned by Armstrong.