Open Letter from Team Manager Patrick Van Gansen
Nailed to the cross by an orchestrated action
As the manager of the Health Mate Ladies
Team, I went through a real hell the past week. Former riders from my ladies
cycling team, the Health Mate Ladies Team, recently accused me of cross-border
sexual behavior and psychological abuse. These unjustified complaints affect me
to the depths of every fiber in my body. I can only deny the allegations
against my address in the most formal way. All the ladies in question, four of
whom do not even have the courage to mention their name and tell me what I
would have said to them, are riders who in one way or another failed to be a
member from a UCI Team like ours. Some struggled with more than 12 kg of excess
weight, others often completely ignored team orders and still others did not
train when it rained a little bit and did not even show up several times when
they had to race a course. All these ladies were given several warnings before
talking about stopping in the team. I leave the conclusion of what happened to
me this week to anyone who wants to judge, based on what has been published.
However, my trial was completely conducted in the press, without being able to
provide any evidence. And even that is the world upside down, because I now
have to prove my innocence, while in normal circumstances the guilt has to be
proven! Fortunately, I have enough evidence and witnesses that will prove that
all the allegations that I have been accused of in the press are completely
Moreover, to date of today, I have not received any legal complaint from a rider against my person and only one complaint has been forwarded by the UCI to which I have responded. I have not yet received any other complaints from the UCI. So my process currently only goes through the press and I’m going to stop that now!
Further polemicizing this issue in the press is pointless, because I cannot win that fight. Evidence is not shown, words are twisted or omitted, things I have never spoken are added and interviews on TV are cut up.
In order to clear my name, I have decided – in consultation with my lawyer – to lodge a criminal complaint on account of defamation. This complaint will be filed with the competent authorities within the next few days. From now on, I will refrain from further comment on this subject in the media.
At the express demand of the riders of the team I will also remain as sportsdirector during the period ahead. The team will keep going until the end of the season. Whether or not the team will continue its activities next season will be decided in consultation with the sponsors.
Over the past few years, I have been working unconditionally, full of passion and dedication at the service of the riders! My name is now known worldwide as just the opposite of what I have done for women’s cycling! Instead of the respect that I deserved, I am smeared, kicked, spit and nailed to the cross worldwide. Every day I receive messages from all over the world, telling me what a fat bag, dirty butt, bastard and so much more I am not. Thanks to the frustrated riders who want to blame their own failures on someone else, because otherwise they will suffer loss of sight with their crowd of followers on social media.
And most probably everything is orchestrated by one person who has sworn to put me on the cross and who texted me this literally by sms a few months ago.
In any case, I will do everything in my power to prove my innocence and to clear my name to the fullest.
And in my last word spoken about this matter in public, I want to thank the many encouragement messages I got the past days from people who are standing behind me. Without all these messages and the unconditional support of my team I would not be able to pick up my life again. Thank you so much!
It’s because of you all, I will go on Sunday to the race and look everyone straight in the eyes. I hope to meet some of the ladies who accuse me falsely…it will be them who look away when I look into their eyes!
Health Mate Ladies Team