Montreal cyclist James Piccoli has filed a $15,000 civil lawsuit against Cycling Canada for a “flagrant” breach of a memorandum of understanding between the two parties.
The 31-year-old athlete specifically wants to recover legal costs related to an appeal before the Sport Dispute Resolution Center of Canada in June 2021 over a dispute with Cycling Canada.
Piccoli claims he signed a document with Cycling Canada before the Tokyo Olympics for which he was not selected.
Last month, following another call from Piccoli, Cycling Canada was forced to review its decisions and its committee responsible for assembling the national team for the Quebec and Montreal Grand Prix Cyclists (GPCQM).
The initial selection of seven drivers was changed, but Piccoli was not retained as a starter, only as a reserve.
“In August 2023, I became aware that the terms of this memorandum of understanding were not being adhered to by Cycling Canada in its selection process,” Piccoli states in his small claims apportionment complaint filed with the Quebec Court.
Photo agency QMI, Joël Lemay
In the past, the former Tour de Beauce winner had lost two internal appeals for selection for the Tour of Alberta and the cycling Grands Prix.
The Piccoli clan also believes the Sport Dispute Resolution Center of Canada has ruled that Cycling Canada is violating its conflict of interest policies.
Piccoli is currently in China racing under the colors of his professional team and has enlisted his father to oversee this legal battle. It was not possible to speak to him.
Last month, the cyclist said he wasn’t confident the situation at Cycling Canada would improve. In his opinion, other athletes are just as tired as he is.
“He thought it was possible, but they didn’t respect anything. Cycling Canada’s word is worthless. The amount of the lawsuit is initially symbolic. I think we have a good cause,” Gene Piccoli said.
The 68-year-old portfolio manager wants to encourage other athletes to denounce what he considers unacceptable. “I want to put pressure on people publicly and get attention. I want everyone to know how they work at Cycling Canada. »
Gene Piccoli even contacted the Liberal MP for Mount Royal, Anthony Housefather, who was heavily involved in the sensitive issues of Hockey Canada and Canada Soccer, where serious calls led to resignations.
“I don’t see how it could be worse. Athletes are afraid to speak out. If we can make a small difference, even better,” concludes the cyclist’s father.
“Not many people dare to do this for fear of reprisals,” said Louis Barbeau, director general of the Fédération québécoise des sports cyclists.
When track cyclist Hugo Barrette announced his retirement from the sport last June, he also addressed the Canadian federation very harshly.
“I also realized that I always had to fight against Cycling Canada. I feel like the organization has hindered me at every point in my career. »
In 2019, James Piccoli was the 2nd Canadian in the UCI world rankings with 471 points. The first, Michael Woods, was in 23rd place and Piccoli in 165th place, ahead of Guillaume Boivin and Hugo Houle.
In his dispute with Cycling Canada management, Hugo Houle is never afraid to criticize their decisions. Gene Piccoli assures that 90% of athletes support the words of the Quebec cyclist.
“It reflects the great dissatisfaction among active and inactive runners in the community, all of whom have experienced sometimes questionable situations. “As a result, we lose trust,” summarized Hugo Houle.