Swiss Olympic champion Pascal Richard has been convicted of fraud; Slovenia looks to join UCI GoldenPIC BY FRANJA.ORG 1996 Olympic road race champion Pascal Richard has been convicted of fraud and misleading the judicial authorities, according to the Tribune de Genve. The 42 year-old Swiss was given a four month suspended sentence by the Eastern Vaud criminal court. In March 2002, Pascal Richard claimed he was a victim of theft, after an African living with him fled with CHF200,000. Richard told the police that the man had stolen the money, but failed to mention the fact that the money was swindled. The African had promised Richard that he would "multiply his money" - which he did - but did it in an illegal fashion. The police launched an investigation, and found out that Richard had been hiding some of the facts. This included reporting the theft of four valuable clocks (CHF20,000 worth), despite the fact that he had previously sold two of them. In his defence, Richard said he was in financial difficulty in 2002 and was easily manipulated. Slovenia aims for Golden Bike series The UCI's Golden Bike cyclos-portif series could soon expand with the addition of the Maraton Franja Barcaffe in Slovenia on June 17, 2006. The event has taken place each year for the last 25 years in Slovenia's capital, Ljubljana. It's the biggest recreational cycling event in the country. This year, a record 3,500 cyclists took part, including 1,700 in the main marathon. The marathon has an impressive history, with participants ranging from Slovenia's minister of health to the country's top pro riders and other athletes. It was first organised on July 22, 1982, and was named after a World War II secret hospital, which the marathon passes on its way. The 155 km parcours is still the same as it was then, although in 2002, a shorter 97 km version was added. There is also a family and schools event over 28 km, attracting around 1,300 cyclists of all ages, mainly families. It usually has a humanitarian note to it, pointing out certain social problems. This year, the organisers applied for UCI Golden Bike status. If all goes well next year, the event will become a full part of the series in 2008, joining other well known cyclo-sportifs such as the Ronde van Vlaanderen and Cape Argus Pick 'n Pay Cycle Tour. Gorazd Penko, the race director, said that he decided to apply for Golden Bike status because, "Much like every sportsman needs motivation in order to continue striving for ever better results, so do we - the organisers of sporting events. We would like to take another step in making the event even bigger, better, safer and more appealing to cyclists. By joining the series, we will adopt even higher standards in organisation and thus hopefully add to the popularity of cycling in the region and in Europe." More information: www.franja.org.