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Irish cycling great Stephen Roche expected to repay €380,000 as appeal partially upheld over cycle tourism business insolvency

Judges ruled the insolvency was rightfully declared "culpable", although the 1987 Tour de France winner's lawyers were successful in reducing the total sum he will have to repay from €733,866...

Irish cycling great Stephen Roche's appeal over a court ruling he "knowingly and negligently" bankrupted his Mallorca cycling tourism business to fund his "life of luxury" has been partially upheld, with the 64-year-old expected to have to repay around €380,000.

In 2022, Roche was ordered to repay nearly €750,000 in relation to allegations he had failed to pay creditors of his Shamrock Events cycling tourism company, instead using its assets to fund his own lifestyle. At appeal, three judges based in the Mallorcan city of Palma ruled that the insolvency had rightfully been declared "culpable" and not "fortuitous" two years ago, Breakingnews.ie reported.

However, the retired cyclist's lawyers were successful in reducing the amount Roche will have to repay, arguing that nearly €350,000 of the original €733,866 should be excluded as it predated the "asset-stripping".

Roche, who completed the 'triple crown' of Giro d'Italia, Tour de France and World Championships road race in 1987, will only have to repay the amount relating to the two years preceding Shamrock Events entering administration in April 2019 and is expected to have to repay around €380,000. He has also had his seven-year company director ban reduced to two years.

"In this case the insolvency has been declared culpable because of the absence of accounts, the breach of duty in asking for the company to be placed in administration and the asset-stripping that occurred in terms of the unjustified use of company money. We share those arguments," the appeal judges stated, adding that they found no evidence to justify the expenditure of cash taken from the company.

The judge who handed out the original ruling in 2022, Margarita Isabel Poveda Bernal, had told the court funds were spent on "Mr Roche's sumptuous expenditure, on things like golf, apartment rentals, hotels in Switzerland and Hungary, restaurants, clothes stores and fashion houses like Loewe, evidence a life of luxury and spending while his creditors weren't paid."

Stephen Roche, 1987 Tour de France (Creative Commons Licence - Anders, Flickr)

She said Roche had continued to fund his "life of luxury" while "those who had provided accommodation and meals for his cycling clients and had paid him in advance and borne upfront all the cost associated with their services including personnel, groceries, water and electricity, weren't paid."

Two hotels used to accommodate Roche's clients in Mallorca reported being left nearly €400,000 out of pocket, with the lawyer for one hotel accusing Roche of having "taken advantage of his company for his own private benefit to the detriment of many people".

The appeal judges upheld judge Bernal's ruling that the company's bankruptcy was "culpable rather than fortuitous".

Roche was cleared of fraudulently removing a Volkswagen van owned by his business. In 2019, he blamed his financial struggles on problems relating to the sale of a property investment in France and a failed investment in a luxury car sales business.

At the time he promised to repay creditors and claimed to have "been very upfront with the people I owe money to".

"When I hear I've run away or I'm trying to get away without paying, that's not me. That's not me. Never," Roche said.

Dan joined road.cc in 2020, and spent most of his first year (hopefully) keeping you entertained on the live blog. At the start of 2022 he took on the role of news editor. Before joining road.cc, Dan wrote about various sports, including football and boxing for the Daily Express, and covered the weird and wonderful world of non-league football for The Non-League Paper. Part of the generation inspired by the 2012 Olympics, Dan has been 'enjoying' life on two wheels ever since and spends his weekends making bonk-induced trips to the petrol stations of the south of England.

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9 comments

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Wheelywheelygood | 1 month ago
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This entitled behaviour seems to be endemic amongst sad mycleists  ,with a me first and sod everyone else attitude  and regretsbly its spreading very fast 

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mark1a replied to Wheelywheelygood | 1 month ago
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Wheelywheelygood wrote:

This entitled behaviour seems to be endemic amongst sad mycleists  ,with a me first and sod everyone else attitude  and regretsbly its spreading very fast 

Try typing with both hands.

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chrisonabike replied to mark1a | 1 month ago
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Maybe it's not easy to text whilst wheeling along in you wheelchair?

(And dodge hordes of cyclists on the pavement etc.)

I approve of the growing range of wheel-based activities though - bycle, mycle etc

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perce replied to Wheelywheelygood | 1 month ago
1 like

Gosh, tell me about it- it's like, literally, like, living in a bleak post apocalyptic nightmare round here, etc, etc.

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PRSboy | 1 month ago
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I went on a Stephen Roche holiday; it was fantastic, very well organised and the guides were great. I'm sad that people have lost out and that Roche is worming out of his responsibilities to pay money owed to people who trusted him.  Shame on him. 

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Barraob1 | 1 month ago
3 likes

Stephen wouldn't run away from his creditors, he'd cycle away

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Jmac replied to Barraob1 | 1 month ago
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Very good, once you get a taste for the finer things in life, it's hard going back to bread and jam.

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Mr Hoopdriver replied to Jmac | 1 month ago
1 like

Nowt wrong with bread and jam.  Getting used to the "finer things in life" is where the trouble lies.

Bread and jam is the simpler pleasure along with a mug of tea at the top of the climb.  What's finer than that.

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Simon E replied to Mr Hoopdriver | 1 month ago
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I'd suggest that it is in fact assuming that you deserve or have somehow earned the finer things in life is a worse condition than simply getting used to them. People can justify all sorts of misdemeanours with those kind of mental tricks, as we've seen in this example.

This is the same Stephen Roche who was more concerned about unzipped jerseys and race radios than whether doping was damaging the sport. And of course he never did any of that stuff... though Paul Kimmage could tell you thing or two about that, allright!

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