More than three years after a complaint was first lodged against him, Nicholas Clark – the subject of a major CyclingTips investigative feature – has been suspended by USA Cycling.
Until late 2020, Clark was a bike shop owner and coach in the Washington DC suburbs. For several years, he maintained that he had been a professional cyclist with accolades including an Australian time trial championship and a junior men’s world championship medal. Clark said that he had raced for major teams including AG2R-Casino, riding events including Tour of Flanders, Paris-Nice, and Liège-Bastogne-Liège.
Off the back of that claimed cycling experience, Clark established and coached a women’s cycling team, and was also involved with the elite-level Kelly Benefits Strategies team, before suspicions arose about the legitimacy of his story. An initial complaint against Clark was filed with USA Cycling in September 2019, but closed a week later due to a lack of supporting evidence, allowing Clark to continue coaching.
Clark’s fabricated pro cycling career was, as it turns out, just the tip of the iceberg. Our April 2022 feature unravelled decades of fabrications across multiple industries, ties with the political and military elite, numerous fake degrees and accreditations, and possible stolen military valour. Now, there are formal consequences.
In the wake of that story, USA Cycling chose to reopen an investigation into whether Clark’s conduct was a violation of its code of conduct, specifically as an “act of fraud, deception, or dishonesty in connection with any USA Cycling-related activity”.
Today, USA Cycling found that Clark had violated those policies by “provid[ing] false information about his background in cycling.”
The organisation imposed sanctions of a one-year complete suspension against Clark, prohibiting him from participating in any USA Cycling activities in any capacity, and a three-year coaching license suspension. Clark sold his shop ProBike FC in late 2020, and is no longer involved in cycling.
Following the CyclingTips feature, Clark’s story was front-cover news in The Weekend Australian’s business section (‘Tour de Fraud: Cycling spin exposes an ASX Walter Mitty‘, May 14-15 2022). That publication probed his business fabrications, which had seen him earn a salary of more than $1.3 million as CEO of the chemical company Alexium.
Clark told The Weekend Australian that “I don’t deny at all whatsoever that I embellished my credentials to get work.”
After having failed to get jobs due to not being “a part of the establishment”, Clark said that he “got to a point where I said ‘you know what, screw this, I’m going to bolster up the resume and put some letters behind my name’ and bam.” At one point, his title read B.Ec, LLB, MBA, CPA, F Fin, executive director and CEO; at various points a PhD worked its way in, along with military commendations.
Clark is now working as a firearms instructor, claiming military experience and a professional background as “a former officer with the Department of Corrections having served in a number of units, from SuperMax wings, to the emergency response and hostage response unit and drug squad as an active drug dog handler.”
USA Cycling was contacted for comment.
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