Australian Cycling Sponsor Skins Seeks $2M In Damages From UCI Over Armstrong Scandal
Australian sportswear company Skins is seeking $2M in damages from the Int'l Cycling Union (UCI), claiming its brand has been "damaged by the mismanagement of the Lance Armstrong doping scandal," according to Neil Hume of the FINANCIAL TIMES. Skins has backed cycling teams since '08 and supplied the USA Cycling team with race suits at the London Olympics. The company alleges UCI is responsible for a “total loss of confidence” in professional cycling that has harmed its brand. In a letter sent to UCI, the company said, “Skins was under the illusion that professional cycling had been fundamentally reformed to contain doping and minimise the risk of scandals with which the brand of any sponsor could be associated” (FINANCIAL TIMES, 11/5). Skins Chair Jaimie Fuller said in a statement that the legal action letter was to send a message to UCI and its leaders that "gross mismanagement and betrayal of trust is completely unacceptable" (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 11/4). Fuller's statement continued: "The events of the last several months have made it abundantly clear that world cycling has not been the sport the general public and the corporate partners thought it was" (PA, 11/5). BBC.com reported that the UCI has "commissioned an independent investigation" into the Armstrong affair after the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency claimed Armstrong led "the most sophisticated, professionalised and successful doping programme that sport has ever seen" (BBC.com, 11/5). The IOC will investigate Armstrong's 2000 Sydney Olympics Bronze Medal after the American was stripped of his seven Tour de France titles (REUTERS, 11/1).