Cycling union pauses its case against anti-drugs journalist
By Sean Moriarty
The Union Cycliiste International and its Irish president Pat McQuaid has suspended its defamation case against fellow Dubliner and former Sunday Times journalist Paul Kimmage.
Both McQuaid and Kimmage were due to go head-to-head in a Swiss court on December 12.
Kimmage, a former professional cyclist and an outspoken anti-doping journalist faced the wrath of UCI , McQuaid and the UCI’s former president Dutchman Hein Verbruggen after he accused them of being corrupt in a series of articles published in the Sunday Times and French newspaper L’Equipe.
Unusually the UCI took the step of suing Kimmage as an individual this depriving him the chance to seek the support of the two publications in question.
However in light of the Lance Armstrong fall out last week the UCI has indefinitely suspended action against Kimmage.
The decision to halt the action comes on the same day it emerged that a fund set up to pay for Kimmage’s defence had passed $80,000 (€61,000) and more than 2,000 people had contributed.
Kimmage wrote on his Twitter account that he could fill a jumbo jet with witnesses and posted on his Twitter: "How do I feel. I fell like Maximus as he prepared for battle.”
The UCI has suspended but not withdrawn its lawsuit.
Since the publication of his book A Rough Ride in 1990, Kimmage has built a reputation of speaking out against doping and corruption in cycling. He has won several awards as a journalist but has had many run ins with the UCI too.
In the book Kimmage had written that the governing body had turned a blind eye to doping allegations in the sport. It had also claimed that the governing body was aware of doping but refused to act on it and claimed there was corruption by senior officials as he and other journalists had gathered sufficient evidence for them to take action.
Kimmage previously spoke about the matter to respected cycling website VeloNation.com. In January he said that it appeared a decision to sue him had been made to target him personally and thus prevent him having the legal assistance of the two publications one of which is the Sunday Times where he worked until earlier this year.
The Irishman received a subpoena last month to a tribunal close to the Swiss homes of both Pat McQuaid and former UCI president Hein Verbruggen with the case originally scheduled to be heard on December 12.
Witnesses include Irish race promoter Alan Rushton.
"The case against Kimmage is nothing to do with USADA and Armstrong," said McQuaid at the time.
"It's about a journalist who accused me and my predecessor of being corrupt. It's a straight defamation case."
Kimmage has the backing of fellow Irish journalist David Walsh, also of the Sunday Times and one of the most influential sports journalists in this country. He, too, has written extensively about doping.
He said: “The UCI were fully aware of all the evidence put forward over the last 20 years. Pat McQuaid is a custodian of a professional sport and he should resign. He claims it did not happen on his watch [since he was elected in 2005] but he did not want to know about doping in the sport until the USADA’s report.”