Verbruggen and McQuaid reactivate legal case against Kimmage
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Saturday, February 1, 2014

Verbruggen and McQuaid reactivate legal case against Kimmage

by Shane Stokes at 10:23 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Doping
Action continues despite UCI’s decision to abandon suit

Paul KimmageAlthough Brian Cookson said in October that the UCI was abandoning the legal case it had previously taken against Paul Kimmage, two other parties in that suit – former presidents Hein Verbruggen and Pat McQuaid – have reactivated their related action against the Irish journalist.

In October 2012 McQuaid spoke after the publication of the USADA report and said then that the action was suspended. Cookson’s statement one year later appeared to signal the final conclusion of the legal case.

However Verbruggen and McQuaid – who will both have their presidencies investigated and assessed by the new Cycling Independent Reform Commission – have decided otherwise.

On November 7th 2013 the lawyer representing Verbruggen and McQuaid, Rolf Ditesheim, contacted Kimmage’s lawyer Cédric Aguet proposing to terminate the legal proceeding provided the Irishman pays his own legal costs and half of the court fees.

Kimmage declined to do so on the basis that he didn’t initiate the original case. On November 28th Ditesheim contacted the president of the Swiss courts stating that his clients wished the procedure to continue. Things have been quiet since then, but on Thursday the Tribunal d’Arrondissement de l’Est Vaudois [the court concerned] contacted Aguet, officially notifying him of the end of the UCI action while confirming that McQuaid and Verbruggen were indeed persisting.

The UCI has been ordered to pay Kimmage 500 Swiss francs in costs and must itself pay 700 euro in legal fees.

The Irish writer has commented on the matter yesterday, saying that the attempts by Verbruggen and McQuaid to get him to pay some of the legal costs were not going to be entertained.

“You must be joking. That’s not going to happen,” he told VeloNation. “They initiated the action, they can settle it any way they want. There is no way I am going to pay anything. Hell will freeze over before I give any of those assholes a dime.”

VeloNation contacted the UCI yesterday morning to seek a reaction to the news that the case had been restarted; the governing body has not yet replied.

Kimmage: Why doesn’t Verbruggen sue Armstrong?

Hein VerbruggenIn January 2012 McQuaid and Verbruggen [pictured] initiated legal proceedings against Kimmage, claiming they were defamed by articles in the Sunday Times and L’Equipe. He was issued with a summons on September 19th of that year, compelling him to attend a trial in Switzerland on December 12th.

On October 26th 2012, days after it received and accepted USADA’s reasoned decision on Lance Armstrong and the US Postal Service team, the UCI announced that it was putting the case on hold. It was facing considerable pressure at the time due to the release of the USADA report, and had been criticised for suing a journalist who had long campaigned for a cleaner sport.

However the case was only suspended, not ended. The matter looked to be finally over when new president Cookson said in October that the UCI was calling a halt to its action, yet Verbruggen and McQuaid have taken the decision to reactivate the case.

“It is curious,” Kimmage told VeloNation, when asked for his reaction. “I find it incredible that Verbruggen is all over the place, shouting about what a liar Lance Armstrong is, but the only person he hasn’t brought to court is Armstrong. You would have to conclude there is some reason for that.

“Lance Armstrong has been the source of all of the stuff he has objected to that was brought up by Floyd Landis [in an interview Kimmage did with him at the end of 2010 – ed.]. Armstrong was the source of all that he would regard as slander from the get go, yet Armstrong is the one person who he never took to court. He has gone after everyone else except him.”

The next step in the process is for the court to decide if the case should continue.

Kimmage acknowledged Cookson’s withdrawal of the UCI from the legal action, but said he was scratching his head as to why the two former presidents would elect to reactivate their case. “I would welcome the fact that the UCI are doing what they are doing, but I am at a loss to explain why McQuaid and Verbruggen are acting like this,” he said.

“If you look at the substance of their argument and what was said, much of what Floyd has already been shown to be true.”

In May 2010 Landis went public with allegations that there was widespread doping on the US Postal Service team, and that riders such as Armstrong were using banned substances.

The Texan originally denied the allegations and he was backed by McQuaid and Verbruggen, who both sought to dismiss Landis’ version of events.

In 2011 Verbruggen was quoted by as stating that the American 'never, never, never doped.’ However in January of last year the Texan admitted to chat show host Oprah Winfrey that he had indeed used banned substances for most of his career.

Verbruggen then backtracked, saying that the UCI long had doubts due to test results from races such as the 2001 Tour de Suisse, but that he couldn’t reveal those publicly at the time. He denied helping Armstrong avoid a suspension, something both Landis and another former USPS rider Tyler Hamilton claimed the Texan told them.

In November Armstrong said that Verbruggen had indeed helped cover up his positive for cortisone in the 1999 Tour de France. Verbruggen denied this and said that Armstrong was not trustworthy.

As part of its work, the new Cycling Independent Reform Commission will examine the Dutchman’s handling of doping matters plus his interactions with Armstrong and the US Postal Service team. McQuaid’s presidency and dealings with Armstrong will also be assessed.

It is hoped that the CIRC will conclude its investigation by the end of this year.

Also see: Court order in class action case compels Aaron Brown to provide full details of Kimmage defence fund



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