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UCI hands out suspensions after Cynisca Cycling found guilty of participating ‘in a fraud’

The UCI has suspended members of Cynisca Cycling after the team disguised a mechanic as a rider in an effort to gain entry to last year’s Argenta Classic.

American team Cynisca were missing one of their five riders due to illness for the road race in Belgium.

Mechanic Moira Barrett dressed as the fifth rider in a bid to avoid the team being disqualified from the July event.

“Several members of the team had participated in a fraud,” the UCI said.

“The riders stated to the president of the commissaires’ panel that a fifth rider was present but ill.”

Cycling’s world governing body detailed the process that saw the bizarre episode unfold.

“Upon being informed by the commissaires that the team could not participate if all five riders did not sign the start sheet and take the start, [sports director] Mr Van Haute instructed the team mechanic, Moira Barrett, to wear a rider’s clothes and a face mask, to present herself at the start and sign the start sheet as the team’s fifth rider,” the UCI stated.

Cynisca Cycling sports director Danny van Haute was found to be “the main perpetrator” by the UCI’s disciplinary commission and has been handed a fine and a suspension from any activity in cycling until 31 December 2025.

Van Haute was found to have asked the riders present, Anna Hicks, Cara O’Neil, Katherine Sarkisov and Claire Windsor, “to lie about the whereabouts of the fifth rider – who was not physically present at the venue – when questioned by the commissaires”.

Barrett was deemed to have “played an active role in the fraud” and has been suspended from any activity in cycling until 1 September 2024.

Van Haute and Barrett are no longer listed as employees on Cynisca’s official website.

Riders Hicks, O’Neil, Sarkisov and Windsor were found to have followed Van Haute’s instructions and have been reprimanded.

The team also received a competition sanction, with “a suspension effective for the next event on the UCI international calendar for which its participation is confirmed as well as a fine”.

The UCI’s verdict is subject to a possible appeal before the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

SOURCE: BBC Sport RSS   (go to source)
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