Lance Armstrong may have let the legal deadline for launching a defamation case against Flloyd Landis pass, but the UCI and its current and former presidents, Pat McQuaid and Hein Verbruggen are not it seems going to let things lie as they today announced they were initiating legal proceedings against Landis in the Swiss courts.
In a short to the point of terse press statement the UCI confirmed the move and said:
"By this step, made necessary by numerous unacceptable public statements by Mr Landis, the UCI is seeking to defend the integrity of the cycling movement as a whole against the accusations of a rider who, by breaching the Anti-doping Rules, caused cycling serious harm."
Last year in a sworn statement given to the Wall Street Journal Landis accused Armstrong and the US Postal team of initiating a programme of systematic doping and said that the UCI and its then President, Hein Verbruggen, had colluded in covering up a dope test that Landis alleged Armstrong had failed at the 2002 edition of the Tour de Suisse. All parties have vehemently denied the accusations and the UCI had already called in its lawyers and warned Landis last May that it would "undertake all necessary measures to defend its honour as well as the honour of all its executives who have been unfairly accused by Mr Floyd Landis."
Armstrong by contrast has not taken the legal route instead calling in to question Landis's own credibility – citing the disgraced former rider's own long running campaign against his conviction for doping at the 2006 Tour which ended suddenly when Landis admitted his guilt.
Speaking last year at the Tour of California when the Landis allegations against him first surfaced Armstrong said:
"He has nothing, he has no proof, it's his word against ours", added Armstrong. "We like our word. We like where we stand. We like our credibility. I don't there's a lot of credibility on the other side."
“We have nothing to hide. We have nothing to run from. I can give you one word to sum this all up. It’s credibility. Floyd lost his credibility a long time ago.”
At the same time UCI President Pat McQuaid angrily rebutted Landis's claims saying that the only thing that they proved, "is that he’s a liar. He has stood up in court and denied these things. He’s got absolutely no credibility."
Mr Landis will now get the opportunity to stand up in court again this time though a Swiss court with the UCI electing to play this one on home turf.
In the meantime the world awaits the outcome of the investigation in to the Lanids claims against Armstrong and his ex-US Postal team mates by Special Agent Jeff Novitzky of the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) which one way or another is likely also to prove something of a bumper payday for lawyers in any number of the world's legal juridictions.
Tony has been editing cycling magazines and websites since 1997 starting out as production editor and then deputy editor of Total Bike, acting editor of Total Mountain Bike and then seven years as editor of Cycling Plus. He launched his first cycling website - the Cycling Plus Forum at the turn of the century. In 2006 he left C+ to head up the launch team for Bike Radar which he edited until 2008, when he co-launched the multi-award winning road.cc - which he continues to edit today. His favourite ride is his ‘commute’ - which he does most days inc weekends and he’s been cycle-commuting since 1994. His favourite bikes are titanium and have disc brakes.