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UCI receives “judgment by default” in defamation case against Landis

  • By Neal Rogers
  • Published Oct. 3, 2012
  • Updated Oct. 3, 2012 at 6:41 PM EDT

The Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) issued a press release Wednesday stating that a Swiss judge had issued a “judgment by default” in favor of the cycling federation in its defamation lawsuit against American Floyd Landis.

Swiss judge Catherine Piguet of the Est Vaudois District Civil Court upheld a petition, first lodged April 29, 2011, that Landis must cease and desist all claims that the UCI and its past and former presidents, Hein Verbruggen and Pat McQuaid, concealed cases of doping within pro cycling.

As with the UCI’s current lawsuit against journalist Paul Kimmage, the UCI had sued Landis for statements that the federation had covered up a Lance Armstrong doping positive from the 2001 Tour of Switzerland.

Beginning in May 2010, Landis has repeatedly alleged that the UCI conspired with Armstrong to suppress an alleged positive doping result, an act soon followed up by a substantial donation to the UCI from Armstrong. McQuaid has acknowledged that the UCI had received a $100,000 donation from Armstrong in 2005, following a pledge to do so in 2002.

The governing body used that money to purchase blood-analysis equipment. McQuaid and other UCI officials have said the donation never presented a conflict of interest.

Landis suggested that the payment was a quid-pro-quo donation, following the suppression of a positive test result. American Tyler Hamilton has since corroborated Landis’ claim.

Armstrong and Landis were teammates on the U.S. Postal Service team from 2002 to 2004. Landis left the team and joined Phonak in 2005 and won the 2006 Tour, but was soon stripped of his title following a positive for testosterone.

Landis, who lives in Southern California and is currently attempting to repay nearly $500,000 to contributors to his fraudulent “Floyd Fairness Fund”, did not attend the closed hearing in Switzerland.

Piguet’s ruling forbids Landis from “stating that the UCI, McQuaid and/or 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 ruling also orders Landis to publish, at his own expense, retractions in several media outlets, including VeloNews.com.

Landis did not immediately return an email from VeloNews for comment.

Piguet also ordered Landis to pay McQuaid and Verbruggen 10,000 Swiss francs, or about $10,660 each, as well as 2,100 Swiss francs ($2,240) in court costs and another 2,500 Swiss francs ($2,665) in legal fees. Those fees may be reduced if Landis does not challenge the ruling within 10 days.

In its statement, the UCI said “False accusations are unacceptable and unlawful and the UCI will continue to defend itself against all such accusations.”

The UCI has endured a bit of a PR nightmare recently with its lawsuit against Kimmage, who last year published an interview with Landis, who repeated these statements, in both The Sunday Times and NYVelocity.com.

A defense fund set up by bloggers Andy Shen of NYVelocity.com and Lesli Cohen of Cyclismas.com has raised over $50,000 for Kimmage’s legal defense. A court date for McQuaid and Verbruggen to level their charges against Kimmage is set for December 12.

In an interview with VeloNews, Kimmage said of McQuaid and Verbruggen, “The job they’ve done, I think it’s been an utter disgrace for the last 20 years.”

The full legal ruling can be downloaded here.

 

 

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Neal Rogers

Neal Rogers

Neal Rogers is editor in chief of Velo magazine and VeloNews.com. An interest in all things rock 'n' roll led him into music journalism while attending UC Santa Cruz, on the central coast of California. After several post-grad years spent waiting tables, surfing, and mountain biking, he moved to San Francisco, working as a bike messenger, and at a software startup. He moved to Boulder, Colorado, in 2001, taking an editorial internship at VeloNews. He never left. When not traveling the world covering races, he can be found riding his bike, skiing, or attending a concert.

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