Elite cycling centre boss sacked after bullying claims

Lausanne (AFP) –


The head of the elite World Cycling Centre Frederic Magne has been removed from his post in Switzerland by the International Cycling Union, who say they have lost confidence in the former track world champion after allegations of bullying, sources have told AFP.

Frenchman Magne was dismissed after a series of alleged misdemeanours at the Switzerland-based velodrome, road-race and BMX training centre, which also included abuse of power and misuse of company assets, the sources said.

"On the basis of the information we have received the UCI no longer has confidence in Frederic Magne," an International Cycling Union (UCI) spokesman said, adding that he was removed from his job two weeks ago.

The UCI refused to say whether it was planning to sue Magne.

The centre has run a round 1,000 training camps since being set up in 2002 by the UCI with elite cyclists from around the world attending including four-time Tour de France winner Chris Froome and British Olympic gold medallist Victoria Pendleton.

Now 50, Magne was keirin world champion three times and is a four-time world champion in the track discipline tandem.

Magne spent 10 years at the head of the centre where several witnesses told AFP of systematic bullying, violent and manipulative behaviour and threats.

He is also accused of sending African trainees at the centre home after an Eritrean ran away during his stay. Witnesses also accused Magne of failing to take into account the dietary requirements of Muslim cyclists.

One witness said Magne had used "a form of terror to put employees under pressure".

Magne told AFP on Monday he was unable to comment on the allegations for legal reasons.

"I can't comment at all, I am bound by a confidentiality clause," he said.

The accusations came to light after a complaint was made by a former employee whose contract was not renewed.

Other reports say Magne made trainees clean up his personal garage and bikes, mow his lawn, clean his car and take his children to school.

Magne's lawyer said the accusations were groundless.

"We strongly contest these accusations," lawyer Mathieu Blanc told AFP.

He said the complainants were trying to damage Magne's reputation and that his client's contract had been terminated because of a divergence in politics and strategy.