The UCI Are Not Terrorists

The UCI won its case against Floyd Landis but as victories go, this is a weak one. What ever Landis might have said in the past a Swiss court has ruled he is forbidden to state that the UCI, Hein Verbruggen and Pat McQuaid:

  • 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

Yes, those are the exact words of the court translated into English, complete with clowns, shit and Gadaffi. If you want to stop reading now and just laugh, go ahead. The extra text below is a bit more serious.

Landis can still appeal this but given he did not take part in the hearing in the first place, it is unlikely he will show up in Switzerland. Once the verdict is in place it means little for Landis. Swiss civil law does not reach beyond Switzerland and Landis will not find himself wearing an orange jumpsuit and handcuffs and extradited to the Vevey courthouse. Here’s Landis’s lawyer who was contacted by Bonnie Ford for ESPN:

Floyd was never served with the UCI’s Swiss lawsuit, never appeared in Switzerland on the case, and therefore the Swiss Court had no opportunity to hear Floyd on the issues,” Cunningham wrote in a statement e-mailed to “The order is un-American in every sense of that word. It is inconsistent with American law, it flies in the face of our First Amendment, and it would be unenforceable in American courts. It does not affect Floyd’s status under American law in any way.”

Perhaps even the UCI agrees? Don’t take my word for it, here’s the UCI’s Honorary President speaking in an interview with cyclingnews before he appears to lose self-control:

The problem is we can’t find Landis,” Verbruggen told Cyclingnews as he poured himself a glass of wine at a worlds presentation in Valkenburg.

That was just 6 days before the court reached its verdict and if they couldn’t find Landis then, they won’t now.

So if the verdict has little consequence for Landis, it’s probably more serious for the UCI. Let’s take two lessons from the US.

  • As Hunter S Thompson recalls Lyndon Johnson first got elected to the US Congress in 1948 when his opponent was a wealthy and politically favoured pig farmer. Trailing in the polls LBJ told his press manager to accuse his pork farming opponent of “carnal knowledge” of his barnyard sows. His campaign manager was shocked. “We can’t say that, Lyndon, it’s not true.” “Of course it’s not,” Johnson barked at him, “but let’s make the bastard deny it.”
  • In 2003 Barbara Streisand went to court to get an environmentalist to remove a photo from his website that showed her beach-side mansion. In the effort to suppress the photos, Streisand publicised the photo and send hundreds of thousands of people to the environmentalist’s website. The end result? A website that few visited was given big publicity and far more people saw the photo than would have otherwise been the case.

In a similar way when the UCI feels it is necessary to send out a press releases to inform us that it’s not a terrorist unit, its officials aren’t Arab despots nor clowns, well the act of denial looks bizarre. More seriously some of the claims made by Landis are very similar to those made by Tyler Hamilton in his recent book and so the UCI ends up reheating the very stories it wishes would go away.

Oddly we’re seeing Floyd Landis go full circle, from hero to villain and now almost back to hero. Once he was the loyal helper of Lance Armstrong who left the team to win the Tour de France, at least that was the spoon-fed narrative. Then it all went wrong, a positive test still left Landis with some supporters but he slid downhill faster than that he took the Joux Plane into Morzine after a botched case, he struggled to return to the sport and finally “ratted” on Lance Armstrong, the action that started the USADA case and which is now rattling the UCI so much. Landis’s reputation is being restored, rather than “Mr Evil Doper” many now see him a fall-guy, a victim of the system and someone who refused to stay quiet.

Talking of silence, when it comes to the court ruling we’re still left with more answer questions:

  • The UCI still won’t publish the receipts it took for the very large payments it took from Lance Armstrong.
  • Or what about being forbidden to see it “hesitated and delayed publishing the results of a positive test on Alberto Contador” when we know that it provisionally suspended Contador in August 2010 and did not announce this until over a month later, and only when German journalist Hajo Seppelt had got the story?
  • As for having no regard for the rules, this blog has pointed out McQuaid sometimes doesn’t know his own rules.
  • And if it’s forbidden to say McQuaid and Verbruggen are full of shit, should we deduce they regularly use colonic irrigation?

As for the other forbidden topics listed by the court USADA might have something to say about them soon. And that’s just the questions relating to the court and Landis verdict, we’re not talking about the conflict of interest concerns.

The verdict’s prescriptive take will have many laughing. As for Landis, nothing much changes except he probably won’t be going on vacation to Switzerland very soon

Instead the risk is the UCI’s legal activity backfires, we can already see some of the banned topics are actually areas where there are still concerns and far from shutting down talk, it will only refocus attention on the still unsolved mysteries of Aigle.

Finally all this talk of clowns and dictators can fire fire up the imagination. If Pat McQuaid quit the UCI to join the circus what would he look like?

63 thoughts on “The UCI Are Not Terrorists”

  1. The rulling by the judge reminds me of a fed up baby sitter: it rolled its eyes and told one child that they are not to call the other stupid after the second came in tears to complain.

    I thought it was a joke but in this context it is just doing its job but really telling the UCI to fuck off.

    • If the Swiss civil courts are anything like in the US, it’s very probable that the actual ruling was drawn up by the UCI’s lawyers themselves.

  2. Follwing on from benDE’s comment, it certainly does appear that the court is firing a warning shot across the bows of the UCI. It would appear that it’s not liking being used as a tool for McQuaid and Verbruggen’s dirty work. Is it the same court that will hear the Kimmage case? If so I’d be having a serious chat with my lawyer if I was the UCI.

  3. Has it not been a common practice of dictators throughout history to silence critics, etc through such methods as the UCI suits are employing against Landis et al?!
    Love the clown pic!

  4. I read on that according to the court decision Landis is supposed to publish a letter recanting his claims re. the UCI in various newspapers. I would love to see that add stating the UCI are not corrupt clown terrorists who are full of shit!

    • The UCI sued former WADA boss Dick Pound. Here was his statement:
      “Richard Pound acknowledges the fact that some of his comments reported in the media might have seemed excessive if they were interpreted to mean that the UCI and Hein Verbruggen were doing nothing to combat doping.”
      Very conditional, no?

  5. For what it’s worth, from Wikipedia:

    The United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights, adopted in 1948, provides, in Article 19, that:
    Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.


    The Swiss Constitution also guarantees Freedom of speech and Freedom of information for every citizen (Article 16). But still the country makes some controversial decisions, which both Human Right Organizations and other states criticizes. The Swiss Animal Right organization “Verein gegen Tierfabriken Schweiz” took the country to the European Court of Human Rights twice for censoring a TV-Advertisement of the organization, in which the livestock farming of pigs is shown. The organization won both lawsuits, and the Swiss state was convicted to pay compensations. Another very controversial law of Switzerland is that persons who refuse to recognize genocide like the Armenian Massacre of 1915 have to face trial. The Turkish politician Doğu Perinçek was fined CHF 12,000 for denying the existence of the Genocide in 2007. Switzerland was criticized by Turkish media and Turkish politicians for acting against the freedom of opinion. Perinçek’s application for a revision was rejected by the court. Holocaust denial is also illegal.

    • Both the UDHR and most nation states’ laws recognise that the right of freedom of expression can be qualified in certain circumstances. So it does not include, for instance, the right to defame others, and it’s perfectly acceptable for people to seek a remedy if others publish lies about them. Naturally, journalists (and website publishers) have a massive vested interest in not having to check their facts, so they like to make out that the rights of freedom of expression ought to be unfettered, but that’s never been the case, not even in the US. So why shouldn’t the UCI be able to seek redress against somebody who accuses them of taking bribes but has no proof of this?

      Enforcement in the US is different. It’s not really true to say that Swiss civil law has no effect outside Switzerland: most US states have legislation allowing the enforcement of foreign judgements. Defamation is a bit different, and you can’t enforce a foreign defamation judgement unless the conduct also counts as defamation in the relevant state, but generally speaking you can enforce judgements abroad. If you can find the defendant or his assets.

  6. You are loving this aren’t you Inrng!

    The UCI look like idiots, i thought they were incompetent before now but they have taken it to another level. They are now not only incompetent but a joke too!

    An appropriate time to use ‘lol’ as a response!

  7. “a victim of the system and someone who refused to stay quiet.”
    …except that he would happily have stayed quiet if he’d been offered a job. He’s doing the right thing and I hope he sorts his life out, but he’s definitely not a hero.

      • Have to agree with Chuffy and Souln. He and Hamilton are going the right thing now but for many years they did not, protested their innocence to the heavens, lied to their back teeth and had campaigns involving people making donations to ‘help them fight back.’ Let’s not lose sight of this.

        • He’s a hero to me. So is Tyler Hamilton. Both of those guys went through hell. And they now have my support. I guess that means we have different opinions on what makes a man a hero.

  8. Does this have an impact on Kimmage? Given the nature of his interview with Landis, you would imagine he would have liked to call on Landis for testimony, now Floyd can’t enter the country. Seems like one less voice in the case against the UCI.

  9. Is there any provision in this verdict about what happens if (when) evidence turns up that the UCI did conceal doping cases? Is that enough to allow Floyd to call them terrorists again?
    In any case, they’ve made a bunch of clowns out of themselves with cases like this, don’t they have a sport to run?

    BTW stating that a Swiss court ruling is un-American is pretty clownesque too. American court rulings aren’t very Japanese either.

  10. what I’m enjoying are all the cycling news sites and blogs republishing the same paragraph from the judgement. A perfectly legal way of saying you sued Floyd for saying this so we won’t repeat it because, hey, the court has ruled, but we will quote, verbatim, just this part of the judgement which lists with joyful (and very Swiss?) detail just what we can’t say about the UCI.

  11. Ha ha – hilarious – I had to check the date to see it wasn’t April 1st when I first read the full text ! It really beggars belief that a international body would ask for this type of statement to be issued by a court of law – it achieves the complete opposite of that intended .

    Apart from the exquisite timing pre-USADA, will there be a fund to pay Landi’s costs ? will Tweedledee and Tweedledum sue USADA when they repeat and probably amplify similar charges ? And the USD50,000 question : does Kimmage have proof ?

    Be great if Hamilton would fund Landis from his book , to appeal so he can appear for Kimmage ! This will run and run. What a scream.

  12. Wait, unless I am missing something in the translation of the order I read, Landis isn’t supposed to publish an apology. He is only supposed to publish the operative provisions of the ruling: “…orders
    Floyd Landis to publish at his own expense the present operative provisions in the following media…”. From my reading, the operative provisions are that he is supposed to pay some money, and that, amongst other things, he can no longer state that Patrick (Pat) McQuaid and/or Henricus (Hein) Verbruggen are full of shit. I would most enjoy seeing that full page ad in the Wall Street Journal. Maybe another fund should be started for this? I would give another $50 (in addition to the $50 I have to Kimmage’s fund).

    • Yup. The order to publicize the ruling makes me think the court was annoyed with the UCI. “You want it? You can have it. Don’t blame us when everyone points and laughs.”

      Imagine the hilarity of a advertisement saying “I, Floyd Landis, am forbidden by a Swiss court to say the UCI are clowns, terrorists, like Gaddafi…”

  13. “The UCI are not terrorists”. Interesting title for the blog post.

    It almost implies that’s the only statement by Landis’ that isn’t true…

  14. This is so ridiculous it goes from hilarious to bizzare.

    I think we should start up a website Everyone could post comments and join the “get sued by the uci” club.

    First post could be “Pat is a twat” – but I think there is enough evidence to prove that is true

    Swiss court has told me I must write one hundred lines

    Pat is not a twat
    Pat is not a twat…

  15. There is another interesting legal angle here relating to the intergrity of the Swiss court. It is perfectly possible that Landis will breach the terms of the Swiss award and confirm his belieft that the UCI are indeed corrupt. If he continues to do so, the Swiss court could return another similar ruling, but would end up having it’s voice lost in the noise. This is the risk it is taking by making a ruling over someone whom is beyond the reach of their legal system.

    I will be very interested to see how this one plays out.

  16. If there was genuine justice in this world, Pat McQuaid would be in jail for corruption! I agree it is interesting that Landis came through. Perhaps even stranger that Hamilton came clean after lying so vehemently. But this makes his confession (and excellent book) all the more moving.
    I think the net result is that the omerta will be broken in the end — even if this will upset Jens Voigt!

    And Lance will eventually pen a book where he confesses to doping. Yes, that’s my prediction. Screen save this reply and buy me a beer five years later!

    • I seriously doubt BigTex will EVER confess to doping. Why? Because he’ll likely never be bankrupted by claims against him or lawyers fees like Landis or Hamilton. If he confessed he would face a whole lot of folks asking for their money back, making the loot Landis must pay back look like chicken feed. He’ll go to his grave claiming it was all a witch-hunt and that he passed those 500 tests while the ones he, er…didn’t pass were tampered with by someone out to get him. Denial to the bitter end I’m afraid. Sociopaths are like that. Contact me in five years so we can see who buys the beers.

  17. Hang on a minute here. Whilst UCI actions may be mistaken, let’s not for one minute call people like Floyd Landis or Tyler Hamilton heroes. They took drugs, ie cheated, they lied to just about everybody when the UCI (yes, remember that organisation that supposedly covers up positive tests) caught them for taking banned substances, they lied to friends and anonymous people alike in order to raise money for their respective “fairness funds”, in some cases serious amounts of money, and now they publish books, make money off this whole sorry episode in our sport, and are now given ample air time by likes of Kimmage, Walsh, Stokes etc. to say how somebody “made” them do it. Well I don’t buy that for one minute. These two clowns, and others, have helped drag our sport into the mire and I don’t think they should be allowed pontificate on who is right and who is wrong. Go away to your respective log cabins Landis/Hamilton and good riddance.

    • I think so many riders were doing this that if there are people willing to admit it and try to help clear things up then it is better for the sport. It won’t make them a hero, especially since they tend to come forward only when it is in their interests. So no heroes but their popularity is probably on an upward curve if you see what I mean.

    • Wow, speaking of pontificating.

      And certainly, everyone posting here would definitely, decisively and emphatically refuse to take any form of PED/doping produce despite slaving for years to get a chance to ride in the big show, and being on the verge of fulfilling a life long dream. Surely you’re not so naive.

      Do some research. Professional riders have been doping since they started racing bikes. These two got spit out by the system, and this is payback.

    • “These two clowns, and others, have helped drag our sport into the mire”

      Correct; Landis, Hamilton and others (since the dawn of he sport) have driven the reputation of cycling into a deep, dark, near satanic cesspit. Don’t disagree with you on that one.

      I assume by using the term “and others”you refer to all those that have been accessory to this situation in order to protect self interests e.g the UCI for wanting to hush up any bad drug stories that could further corrode the reputation of the sport, or other riders to gain an unfair advantage leading to celebrity and fortune, or sponsors/patrons wanting to turn a blind eye in order to be associated with a winning team etc?

      I don’t think anyone would disagree. The problem I have with your comments is life isn’t black and white; banish Floyd and Tyler to their cabins in the woods and we’re left with what? Nothing changes. By speaking up, those two have helped fan the flames of change that are just starting to take hold in our sport. As cycling fans, we should be thankfully to these men with feet of clay for taking the stance.

  18. A victory for Gaddafi! I’m so glad that our happy memories of Colonlel Gaddafi will not be soiled by people saying that he is like that pile of manure UCI.

    • Just as it may only take 1 act to wipe away someone’s view in the eyes of the public, it may only take 1 act to build them back up. While what they did is certainly not honourable or heroic, it takes a hell a lot of guts to go publicly against the grain and spill your guts, all the while knowing that they would be disowned by both sides of the argument.

      And lets not forget that just as there are benefits for people to come clean, there are also massive problems (which is why so many don’t ever do it). Death threats, invasions of privacy, isolation from friends and colleagues and increased pressure on family life would all be normal for these guys.

      We need to remember that riders are human. They make mistakes and, like the rest of us, the “sum worth” of their lives are not made up solely of those mistakes.

  19. Great post. However, I have to nitpick a little bit. LBJ ran for, and won, his Senate seat in 1948. He had previously been elected to a seat in the House of Representatives in 1937. I think it’s almost certain LBJ’s alleged comment about a pig farmer refers to his 1937 campaign. Or at least to a campaign prior to 1948. His opponent in 1948 was the estimable Coke Stevenson. A former Texas state governor. Although he did own a sprawling ranch, I do not believe he was a pig farmer.

  20. I’m going to backtrack a bit on this. I had forgotten that LBJ’s 1948 race was a three-way contest between three Democratic candidates. After the first round of voting, Coke Stevenson and LBJ had garnered the most votes. Neither, however, received more than 50%. Therefore, a run-off was held between the two. The third candidate may have been a pig farmer. I’m still digging. I do, though, stand by the correction that the 1948 was a Senate race. LBJ had been in Congress for 11 years already.

    (I’m sure fans of your blog are just dying to know the exact details about a Senate race 70+ years ago.)

  21. I see this a little differently.

    So now, there is a finite list of things Floyd can not say. There are still many other words that floyd can use in the future to disparage the UCI. How much money will UCI spend trying to come up with a lengthly list of words one American can not say in Switzerland. Or a list of other Americans that also can not use these words in this context? Would those funds not be used to greater advantage in efforts to clean up their act? to make the UCI not the subject that these words describe?

    this brings to mind something that I think Lance said earlier in his career, (I Paraphrase) “the USADA has a finite list of performance enhancing drugs that are banned. I have not used those drugs”. Just for clairity, I would add, here are other substances that may have been used, however.

    thanks for the great blog…

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