French track cyclist Grégory Baugé has said that he plans to challenge the UCI’s decision last week to strip him of the world sprint title he won last March, as well as disqualifying France from the team sprint title he helped it win. Those titles have been awarded, respectively, to Great Britain’s Jason Kenny and to Germany.
The international governing body applied the sanction following a decision last November of the Fédération Française de Cyclisme (FFC) to ban the 26-year-old retrospectively for a year, starting on 23 December 2010, for three infringements of out-of-competition drug testing rules.
The FFC has itself expressed its lack of comprehension at the UCI’s decision to impose the additional sanction on Baugé, who in the course of 18 months twice submitted incomplete or late ‘whereabouts’ information under the World Anti-doping Agency’s ADAMS programme, and on one occasion was missing, through illness, when testers arrived to perform a random test.
Speaking to French newspaper Le Figaro, Baugé revealed that he and his legal team had watched the deadline of 23 December, by when the UCI needed to appeal the FFC decision to the Court of Arbitration for Sport if it disagreed with it, pass by without incident.
Returning last Thursday from a Christmas break in Guadeloupe, he discovered that the UCI wanted to strip him of his titles, but the confirmation 24 hours later that it had done just that came “as a shock” to him.
For now, Baugé insists that he is focusing on his preparations for London 2012, but in the longer term plans to challenge the UCI’s decision, which he also sees as unfair on his team mates in the team sprint, Mickaël d'Almeida and Kevin Sireau, who have also lost their titles.
He also believes that he will have the support of the FFC in any challenge of the UCI decision, and points out that despite his final infringement occurring in December 2010 – the date to which his one-year suspension was backdated – the UCI did not pass his file to the FFC to open disciplinary proceedings until 30 September last year.
Baugé’s lawyer has written to the UCI, saying that it went beyond its powers and had no legal grounds for imposing an additional sanction beyond the ban handed down by the FFC, and said that the correct procedure to follow would have been to appeal via CAS within the required deadline.
In another case relating to out-of-competition testing, involving Danish cyclist Alex Rasmussen, the UCI has appealed the decision of his national federation to acquit him to CAS – an acquittal, coincidentally, that was stated as being due to the UCI missing a deadline to notify the athlete that he had missed a test.
Whatever decisions are reached in the Rasmussen case and the one involving Baugé, assuming he does appeal, UCI procedures and why it is taking so long to communicate developments to athletes and national federations are bound to come under the spotlight.
Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.