Video: Kimmage on Change Cycling Now, UCI legal case, Armstrong verdict and more
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Monday, December 03, 2012

Video: Kimmage on Change Cycling Now, UCI legal case, Armstrong verdict and more

by Shane Stokes at 8:27 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Interviews, Doping, Video
 
“I always swore I’d never sue anybody, but I am prepared to make an exception for McQuaid and Verbruggen”

Paul KimmageJournalist and author Paul Kimmage has long been one of the loudest voices calling for change within the UCI and has reiterated that demand in a video interview conducted over the weekend.

The former professional was one of those who attended the first meeting of the Change Cycling Now group Sunday and again today, and helped come up with a charter laying out what they feel is a necessary path towards reform.

Kimmage spoke to VeloNation prior to flying to London, giving his thoughts in an interview carried out after a talk in front of a large crowd in Limerick. Organised by the Cycle for Sick Children club and raising almost €3,000 for charity, the evening was the first occasion in two decades for him to speak in such a format.

He received a very positive reception from those present and said afterwards that he appreciated the chance to engage.

“It was lovely to be able to engage with some Irish bike fans about a difficult subject for the first time in the 22 years since Rough Ride was published,” he said on Saturday evening. “It was a very, very interesting experience.”

As might be expected, some of the questions put to Kimmage concerned the Change Cycling Now group and what he wanted to see come out of the meeting. He said that he hoped some good ideas could be formulated which would help move cycling forward.

“I have got some ideas about simple things that can be done to change our sport for good, and I am sure there are more intelligent minds in the Change Cycling Now movement that will have an even more valuable contribution to make,” he said.

However he is clear that two areas needed particular attention. “All the talk we do will achieve nothing if first base is not the removal of McQuaid and Verbruggen from the UCI,” he said in the ten minute interview, which can be watched below.

He also advocates the establishment of a fully independent anti-doping body for the sport, completely separate to the UCI. “To ask the governing body to be promoters and policemen of a sport is a no-no,” he asserted, echoing the thoughts of many.

Both of these recommendations were subsequently endorsed by Change Cycling Now, which laid out its charter earlier today.

Kimmage: “I am more than prepared to make an exception for McQuaid and Verbruggen”


In addition to his input with that organisation, Kimmage is also involved in pushing for change via a different avenue. On November 1st he lodged a criminal complaint against current UCI president Pat McQuaid and former president Hein Verbruggen, requesting that the public prosecutor in Vevey, Switzerland, open an investigation into the duo.

The development came after the UCI duo themselves put a case against him on hold.

Kimmage confirmed that he is still awaiting a decision from the prosecutor about whether or not he will proceed. “I’ve been told by my lawyer that he feels confident that he [the prosecutor] will actually direct the Swiss police to investigate it, but I won’t know that for another week or possibly a bit longer,” he said.

Kimmage said that his lawyer, Cédric Aguet, is convinced there is an ’80 percent chance’ that the case will proceed. However he said that even if it does not go forward, that he would consider initiating a civil action. “I’ve always been really reluctant about suing anybody…especially in our job as journalists,” he said. “It makes life much more difficult.

“I always swore I’d never sue anybody, but I am more than prepared to make an exception for McQuaid and Verbruggen because the damage they have done to the sport…I think they have done this sport a serious amount of damage and they need to be held to account for that.”

In the video, Kimmage also talks about his time in New York last week, meeting NYVelocity’s Andy Shen and Dan Schmalz plus Cyclismas’ Lesli Cohen at NYVelocity’s charity roller races. He’s clearly touched by the support he has received from the fans and via the defence fund which those three individuals set up, and which has raised over $92,000 thus far.

He also weighs in on the Lance Armstrong situation, explaining a development which he felt was even more surprising than the Texan being found guilty after years of evading detection.

Kimmage has, like many, been following the developments in relation to the independent commission which has been set up to look into the UCI’s handling of the Lance Armstrong situation plus anti-doping in general.

He said that it was important to give that commission time to investigate those areas, but also stated that personally, he’s convinced that there is serious grounds for concern about what went on.

“The evidence is pretty compelling that McQuaid and Verbruggen have been complicit in this,” he said, when asked if he felt that the commission would indeed be neutral and would dig objectively. “If they can’t find that, they are obviously not looking.

“I’m not going to pre-judge on their competence…I am just hoping they will do the right thing and do it well.”

 

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