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Lotto Dstny sports director Allan Davis apologises for inappropriate behaviour online after not travelling with team to Tour de France

The Australian DS had been accused of sending unwanted messages and photos to women on social media, with Lotto Dstny claiming that the matter “has nothing to do” with the team

Lotto Dstny sports director Allan Davis has apologised for "inappropriate word and actions" following accusations that the retired Australian sprinter had been sending unwanted messages and photos to "at least 30" women online, which ultimately led to him not travelling with the team to Tour de France as Lotto Dstny distanced itself from Davis.

Since the allegations surfaced at the end of last month, Davis has issued a statement of apology to Cyclingnews, which reads: "I deeply regret the way I conducted myself and the impact it had on the person involved. I acknowledge that our multiple direct-messaging interactions in May & June of 2023 touched upon both personal and professional matters.

"We discussed topics related to relationships, family and work, and I understand that at times my words and actions were inappropriate. I failed to consider the consequences of my behaviour, and for that, I am truly sorry."

"There have been reports that I have engaged with other Twitter users in an 'unsolicited' manner. This is true, as over the past 15 years I have often sent direct messages to new male and female followers to thank them for following my Twitter account. This is the nature of social media, and a common practice of Influencers and Content Creators on different social media platforms with the purpose of engaging with ones’ followership base," Davis wrote in his statement.

"I have also sent unsolicited messages to followers who I think might be prospective clients for my coaching activities – another common practice by users of platforms such as Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn to promote their products or services.

"By being active on Twitter and posting regular content I had built a followership base of over 27,000 followers from around the world. I frequently engaged in direct messages with male and female followers.

"These engagements via direct message spanned over a period of more than fifteen years, including my period as a professional athlete and in a self-employed capacity. Some of these interactions involved the discussion of personal topics, and in a number of cases the establishment of friendships and coaching relationships."

"I have reflected on my behaviour and have taken steps to educate myself about appropriate online conduct. I understand the importance of fostering a respectful and inclusive environment, both online and offline," Davis ended his statement.

"Again, I sincerely apologise for my transgressions and any distress or discomfort this may have caused the persons involved."

The Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI), the governing body for pro peloton, said in a statement that it was "aware of the allegations against Allan Davis but does not comment on any potential investigations being raised."

*The original article is below, first published on 29 June 2023*

Lotto Dstny has distanced itself from sports director Allan Davis, who will no longer be taking his place in the team car at the upcoming Tour de France, following accusations that the retired Australian sprinter has been sending unwanted messages and photos to “at least 30” women online.

The allegedly inappropriate behaviour was first flagged by a female Twitter user on Tuesday, who has since claimed that several other women have contacted her with details of similar behaviour towards them from Davis on social media.

The woman has also claimed that a Lotto Dstny press officer “threatened” her to prevent her from speaking publicly about the messages, telling her to “think twice” before tweeting, a claim road.cc yesterday asked the Belgian team to clarify, but on which they refused to comment.

According to the Twitter user, last month Davis followed her and then messaged her on the social media app, which she believed was related to a possible job opportunity at the team.

“Allan messaged me, and he asked for a selfie pretty quickly,” she tells road.cc. “He played the game of ‘I think I know you’. I gave him the benefit of the doubt.”

Allan Davis screenshots

One of the screenshots allegedly sent by Davis on Twitter

However, she then claims that the 42-year-old sent multiple photos of himself, one of which was topless.

After she changed the conversation to focus on her attempts to find work within the cycling industry, Davis allegedly said he could grant her access to the team, and asked for her CV in case “a potential job opportunity comes up for you on our end”.

“He knows I’m looking for a job, I’m pushing that into the conversation, he’s asking other stuff that’s not relevant,” she tells road.cc. She then claimed that Davis later sent her a second topless photo, a screenshot of which was posted on Twitter this week by the accuser.

Allan Davis screenshots 3

She also alleges that, after alluding to her interactions with Davis on Twitter in an earlier post last week (without revealing his identity), a Lotto Dstny press officer contacted her to ask for more information about the sports director’s actions and to apologise for any unwanted behaviour. In screenshots seen by road.cc, the press officer also notes that they are “more or less” aware of who was behind the messages.

In the wake of the public accusations on Tuesday, the press officer allegedly contacted the accuser again to “offer help”, but also told her to “think twice” before tweeting about the team. Davis has also allegedly threatened her with legal action over the tweets.

Since the accusations were shared online, another prominent cycling-focused Twitter user publicly claimed that she too had been messaged privately by Davis in March, though she did not respond to his greeting.

The original accuser has also alleged that “at least 30” other women have told her of inappropriate behaviour directed at them by Davis, who denies the accusations.

Some of these women, she says, work in the cycling industry, while others were approached by the sports director on the basis that he could “help” them with employment.

Another message from a different woman, seen by road.cc, claims that Davis also sent her unwanted messages “a few months back” and that such behaviour from the retired sprinter is not new.

“Women are still being intimidated to not talk about their experiences. But how will things change if we say nothing?” the accuser says.

Allan Davis, 2009 Tour Down Under

Davis racing the Tour Down Under for Quick Step in 2009

In a statement sent to road.cc, Lotto Dstny confirmed that Davis will not be taking up his role as assistant sports director for the Belgian team at July’s Tour de France, “in order to keep the peace”.

The team also distanced themselves from the accusations and Davis’ alleged behaviour.

“Lotto Dstny has taken notice of the allegations of transgressive behaviour, expressed towards a sports director of the team and published by a person on Twitter,” the statement says. “Please note that this is a personal case, emphasises the team, and this has nothing to do with the team. We do not want private matters to be mixed with team matters.

“In order to keep the peace, it has been decided, by mutual agreement, to keep the sports director out of the Tour de France.

“The team will not make additional comments on this case and asks to respect the privacy of those involved.”

Davis, who raced for teams such as Quick Step, Discovery Channel, Astana, and Orica GreenEdge during his 12-year pro career, joined Lotto Dstny as a sports director at the start of 2022, where he works with fellow Australian sprinter Caleb Ewan, following spells in similar roles at Israel Start-Up Nation and British women’s team Wiggle High5.

His last-minute withdrawal means he will not be in the team car for the Tour de France’s start in his adopted home of the Basque Country, with stage two finishing in Saint-Sébastien, where he has resided for the past decade.

Ryan joined road.cc in December 2021 and since then has kept the site’s readers and listeners informed and enthralled (well at least occasionally) on news, the live blog, and the road.cc Podcast. After boarding a wrong bus at the world championships and ruining a good pair of jeans at the cyclocross, he now serves as road.cc’s senior news writer. Before his foray into cycling journalism, he wallowed in the equally pitiless world of academia, where he wrote a book about Victorian politics and droned on about cycling and bikes to classes of bored students (while taking every chance he could get to talk about cycling in print or on the radio). He can be found riding his bike very slowly around the narrow, scenic country lanes of Co. Down.

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16 comments

Avatar
brooksby | 10 months ago
0 likes

Did a lot of posts on this article get nuked?

Avatar
hawkinspeter replied to brooksby | 10 months ago
2 likes

brooksby wrote:

Did a lot of posts on this article get nuked?

No, you've just woken from a fever dream

Avatar
AlsoSomniloquism replied to brooksby | 10 months ago
1 like

Yes. I was in the middle of replying to someone and my post to roidurage attached to Secret Squirrel instead.

TBH, the article would have disappeared into the depths until someone decided to denigrade and blame the original Twitter person multiple times several weeks later. 

Avatar
quiff replied to brooksby | 10 months ago
1 like

I imagine it happened when someone said "defamation"...

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Rendel Harris replied to brooksby | 10 months ago
5 likes

Seems so, and well done road.cc for doing so, a number of individuals who seemed to be very invested in the case were launching some pretty bad attacks.

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chrisonabike replied to brooksby | 10 months ago
5 likes

brooksby wrote:

Did a lot of posts on this article get nuked?

I'm afraid that I can't discuss that due to legal reasons.

Avatar
Jimmy Ray Will | 10 months ago
1 like

I for one will be taking a watching and waiting stance on... pitch fork at the ready, but not in hand just yet.

Some fiesty allegations yes, but many as yet unsubstantiated or qualified. 

Beyond the shirtless photos, a lot else of what has been described could be deemed as normal use of social media. We need to be careful before demonising the very act of a male contacting a female in all instances. Let's have some context behind these 30 women's experiences and make accurate conclusions. 

Threatening legal action may be an entitled power play, but equally it could be the perfectly reasonable action of an individual defending their reputation. Time will tell which it is.

The PR team 'more or less' knowing it was Davis without the woman expressly saying, may be demonstrative that the chap has a history of this behaviour that the team is complicit in hiding. However, it might be that when the allegations first materialised, Davis went straight to the team and shared his actions with them. Again, we don't know, time will tell. 

Bad people, bad men, need to be called out, but right now we don't know if this is the actions of a gullible sleeze ball, or a determined predator. 

Avatar
peted76 | 11 months ago
1 like

I saw this develop over the past couple of days on twitter, seems that lotto guy is a proper douchebag. One of the most distasteful things which is coming out about this is that the PR lady who appears to have told the lady who'd recieved the DM's to keep quiet or risk damaging the team.. is that she's been on the record and has personally spoken out about sexual harrasment from her own experiences from within a cycling team previously... unless both the PR person and that DS are hung out to dry by the team.. I can't see this ending well for lotto dstny.. in fact I can see Dstny having their own little PR crisis in three, two, one.. https://www.dstny.com/dstny-speak-up 

 

Avatar
Legin replied to peted76 | 11 months ago
0 likes

"These damn Sheila's just don't know their place anymore"........

Or he may be thinking something similar.

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SexandtheSwiss replied to peted76 | 11 months ago
0 likes

There is more to come, more and more women have spoken out since. 

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Paul J | 11 months ago
0 likes

He kept himself in shape after his pro rider career ended. Those women will have been so flattered to get those semi-naked photo of that amazing physique.

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Brauchsel replied to Paul J | 11 months ago
3 likes

Toadfish has let himself go. 

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I_Like_Flats replied to Paul J | 11 months ago
4 likes

I absolutely don't want to defend Allan Davis but I don't want to body shame him either. I'm really bummed that he's done this, because this interview he gave in 2018 about his weight issues has stayed with me. I'm sharing it here because I think it's important context for other cyclists; unfortunately this part of his story has been superceded by the damage he's done.

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Secret_squirrel | 11 months ago
3 likes

Its hardly a personal matter if the guy has been dangling job offers with the team is it? 

Its a gross misconduct investigation from the get go.  Full suspension with pay.

 

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Secret_squirrel replied to Secret_squirrel | 10 months ago
4 likes

Still disappointed with Lotto Dstny over this.  They should have been taking the lead in managing this situation.

If I sent you a topless pic whilst also discussing my relatively senior position in my company and asked for a CV you bet your ass I'd be lucky not to be fired.   And my company is pretty easy going by most standards. 

Avatar
AlsoSomniloquism replied to | 10 months ago
0 likes

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