American women’s cycling team punished for deception attempt to enter race in Belgium

AIGLE, Switzerland (AP) — American women’s cycling team Cynisca was punished by the sport’s governing body Monday for trying to enter an international race by deceiving organizers.

The International Cycling Union said a team official told a mechanic “to wear a rider’s clothes and a face mask” and pretend to be feeling ill so the team could have the mandatory five racers sign an entry list at the start of the one-day Argenta Classic in Belgium last year.

The Cynisca team, staff and riders “were therefore all found to have participated in a fraud,” the UCI said publishing the judgment of its disciplinary panel.

“Danny Van Haute was found to be the main perpetrator,” the UCI said, banning the veteran American official and 1984 Los Angeles Olympics rider from the sport through the end of 2025. Mechanic Moira Barrett is banned through August.

Cynisca was fined an unspecified amount and suspended from the next international race it was due to enter, the ruling said.

The sanctions for Cynisca were announced one day after its rider Lauren Stephens won the one-day Clasica de Almeria in Spain.

The team based in Bloomington, Indiana, had only four healthy riders at the Belgian race in July 2023 but needed to comply with UCI rules by having five sign a document to try to start the race. Four other riders who followed Van Haute’s instructions were reprimanded.

The team and staff can appeal against the ruling at the Court of Arbitration for Sport.


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