Kimmage blasts UCI legal action by McQuaid and Verbruggen
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Sunday, January 29, 2012

Kimmage blasts UCI legal action by McQuaid and Verbruggen

by Shane Stokes at 12:20 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Doping
‘Hell will freeze over before I issue either of those gentlemen an apology’

UCIIrish journalist and outspoken doping critic Paul Kimmage has described a claim in the Swiss courts against him as an attempt to enforce omerta, and insists that he won’t bow to pressure from the UCI.

The Sunday Independent reported today that fellow Irishman Pat McQuaid and Dutchman Hein Verbruggen, the current and former presidents of the UCI, are each seeking damages of 8,000 Swiss francs (about €6,600) from Kimmage.

The newspaper states that they have told the Swiss District Court that Kimmage has caused them ‘annoyance’ and that their ‘reputation has been seriously damaged’ by articles.

Kimmage has confirmed to VeloNation that he received documentation about the case ‘about ten days ago,’ and has given a strong response.

“My reaction to this can be summed up very simply. Unlike Mr Verbruggen and Mr McQuaid, I do not accept donations from Lance Armstrong, so I am not really in a position to defend this,” he said. “Hell will freeze over before I issue either of those gentlemen an apology for anything.”

Kimmage states that the case appears to relate to an interview he gave l’Equipe during the summer, plus the French translation of the interview transcript with Floyd Landis that the website carried in January of last year. “They also mention the Sunday Times, but I don’t see how this actually covers anything from the Times piece,” he said.

He has been critical about large donations given by Lance Armstrong to the UCI. Armstrong and his former US Postal Service team are currently amongst the subjects of a federal investigation currently being carried out in the United States.

Former US Postal Service rider Floyd Landis has said that the UCI was paid money by Armstrong to cover up a positive EPO test in 2001. The UCI denies this suggestion of a positive sample, and says that money donated was used for anti-doping.

McQuaid and Verbruggen’s action has been taken against Kimmage personally, rather than against l’Equipe and his former employer, the Sunday Times.

In the legal case, the two UCI officials are demanding that he doesn’t repeat the statements made before about the governing body, and also that he pays for advertisements in international media publicising the final judgement of the court.

According to the Sunday Independent, the statement of claim says that Kimmage was ‘dishonest’ in accusing them of ‘having knowingly tolerated tests, of being dishonest people, of not having a sense of responsibility, of not applying the same rules to everyone.’

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 multiple awards as a journalist, and has had several clashes with the UCI.

He believes a deliberate decision has been made to name him alone in the claim. “Clearly they don’t want this addressed properly in court, because if they did, they would have addressed their letter to L’Equipe,” he told VeloNation. “L’Equipe would have sent along their finest barristers and presented a defence of this. They would also have brought all of the witnesses that you would need to defend it.

“Clearly they [McQuaid and Verbruggen] don’t want that to happen, which is why they have targeted me rather than the newspapers. That would be my reading of it.”

Asked what action he would take, he said he didn’t intend entertaining the claim. “I am reluctant to even put a stamp on an envelope and send it back, as that is going to cost me money…the cost of a stamp is actually too much money to waste on those people,” he said. “But I suppose it will come to that at least. It is at least going to cost me a stamp.

“We talk about omerta all the time in the sport. This is how they enforce it. Is this what they would say is part of the fight against doping? I don’t think so. This is all about the omerta, and enforcing the omerta.”

Also see: Landis believes UCI lawsuit launched against him last May was never filed


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