Cycling-American team sanctioned after mechanic disguised herself as rider

  • Cycling
  • Monday, 26 Feb 2024

The logo of the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) is seen in Aigle, Switzerland, June 3, 2022. REUTERS/Denis Balibouse/ File photo

LONDON (Reuters) - An American women's cycling team have been sanctioned by the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) for fraudulent actions after a mechanic was told to disguise herself as a rider in order to satisfy race regulations.

The sport's governing body said a Disciplinary Commission found that Cynisca Cycling, a UCI Women's Continental team, tried to circumvent rules that required five riders per team to start the Argenta Classic - 2 Districtenpijl Ekeren-Deurne event in Belgium last July.

"Although only four riders were present and available to start the event, several members of the team had participated in a fraud ... by attempting to deceive the Commissaires' Panel into believing that a fifth rider was present and could take part in the event," the UCI said in a statement.

The UCI said the team's Sports Director Danny Van Haute instructed riders Anna Hicks, Cara O'Neil, Katherine Sarkisov and Claire Windsor to lie about the whereabouts of a fifth rider.

Having initially stated that the fifth rider was "present but ill" they were told the team would not be allowed to compete unless the fifth rider signed in and was ready to start.

"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 statement said.

Van Haute was suspended from all cycling activity until Dec. 31 2025 as well as being fined.

The four riders were also sanctioned, Barrett was banned until September 2024 and the team were fined and suspended from the next event on the UCI International Calendar.

Cynisca Cycling did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The decision remains subject to a possible appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).

(Reporting by Martyn Herman, editing by Ed Osmond)

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