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Sportswear company sues International Cycling Union over Armstrong scandal

Skins says governing body’s lack of leadership harmed reputation, seeks $2 million in damages

Many Lance Armstrong fans are still recovering from the shock of the famed cyclist’s doping scandal. But one company that outfitted the now-disgraced sports star is angry and ready to fight.

Last month, the International Cycling Union (UCI) stripped Armstrong of his seven Tour de France titles following a report that charged him with extensive and long-running use of performance-enhancing drugs. Now, Australian sportswear group Skins International Trading AG is suing the UCI, claiming the governing body lacked leadership in the fight against doping among cyclists. The company says the UCI’s mishandling of the Armstrong scandal caused a “significant loss of confidence in professional cycling by the public and harms the company’s international reputation as a consequence.” Skins seeks $2 million in damages.

“As a supplier and sponsor, Skins has been concerned that cycling's tarnished image which is the result of years of cheating and doping, that manifested itself in the Lance Armstrong case, is damaging to a brand that is associated with a series of commercial cycling partners across the world including USA Cycling, Cycling Australia, Bike NZ, Rabobank Cycling, Team Europcar, Team Lotto Belisol and Team NetApp,” Skins said in a press release. “Amongst others, Skins was the provider of high tech race suits to the USA Olympic Cycling team for the London Olympics.”

In a statement, the UCI said that while it understands Skins’ concerns, “the UCI is determined to work hand in hand with all cycling's stakeholders towards the same goal, which is to safeguard the integrity and future wellbeing of the sport."

Read Thomson Reuters and the Wall Street Journal for more about the lawsuit.

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Ashley Post

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