The UCI said on Friday that Marc Bracke, the general manager of women’s pro team Doltcini-Van Eyck, violated the organization’s code of ethics following an official investigation into allegations of harassment.
The UCI’s disciplinary committee has now begun proceedings on how to punish Bracke, the governing body said in a release.
“The Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) announces that its Ethics Commission has issued its report on the case involving Mr. Marc Bracke, general manager of the UCI Continental Women’s Team Doltcini-Van Eyck-Proximus Continental Team, concerning allegations of harassment reported by two female riders,” the statement said. “Following the establishment of the facts, the UCI Ethics Commission came to the conclusion that violations of the UCI Code of Ethics had been committed.”
The UCI sent its report to the disciplinary commission on September 24, and the group has yet to announce a formal punishment on the Belgian director. According to the UCI code of ethics, the sanctions for this violation could carry up to one million Swiss Francs, or a lifetime ban on any official involvement in the sport.
The violations stemmed from two separate complaints filed against the team. In May French rider Marion Sicot filed a complaint of sexual harassment against Bracke, which led to a police investigation. Sicot brought the allegations after she tested positive for EPO at the French championships. In a television interview, Sicot later admitted to taking EPO and said she did so to appease Bracke.
According to Sicot, Bracke asked her to send him photos of her in her underwear, with the pretext that it was a way to control her weight.
In a story published by cyclingnews.com, Sicot’s attorney said Bracke made more than 20 written requests for photos of Sicot wearing a bikini taken from various angles. The allegations also said Bracke regularly asked her about her relationship status and sexual orientation.
The allegation mirrored an earlier allegation published in French daily Le Monde, which was brought by American rider Sara Youmans. Youmans brought her case to the UCI in October 2019, shortly after she was engaged in negotiations to join the team.
In an interview with the French newspaper, Youmans said that Bracke requested she send him photos of herself in her underwear or in a bikini during negotiations to join the squad on an unpaid contract. She eventually declined to join the squad.
Bracke earlier this year denied the allegations in an interview with Le Monde, but did say in a statement that he requested photos of riders’ legs for “professional reasons.”
AFP contributed to this report.