Governing body outlines grounds for its suit... but will its legal action be overtaken by events in Armstrong and Bruyneel cases?

The UCI has this evening taken the unusual step of reiterating why it, together with former president Hein Verbruggen and the current holder of that post, Pat McQuaid, is suing former Sunday Times journalist and ex-professional cyclist Paul Kimmage for defamation.

Since a subpoena was served on Kimmage last month on behalf of the UCI and its past and present presidents, with a date of 12 December 2012 set for the defamation trial in a Swiss Court, there has been a huge groundswell of public backing for the former rider who went on to pen the book Rough Ride, widely seen as one of the most compelling insider's acounts of the sport ever published.

That has manifested itself most clearly by the establishment by the websites Cyclismas and NY Velocity of a defence fund to help Kimmage, made redundant by The Sunday Times earlier this year, meet his legal bills.

Initiated by the website Cyclismas, the fund is now heading towards $50,000, with Kimmage's supporters, many sharing his view - one of the central issues in the case - that the UCI colluded in covering up a positive test for EPO by Lance Armstrong.

The fact that it is Kimmage alone who is being sued, rather than others who have levelled similar accusations at the UCI and its senior personnel or the publications in which his allegations appeared, has also caused unease, as has the timing of the action.

While the UCI, Verbrugge and McQuaid first stated their intention to sue Kimmage last January, the formal subpoena has arrived in the wake of the United States Anti Doping Agency banning Lance Armstrong for life.

Moreover, Johan Bruyneel, also charged in connection with an alleged doping conspiracy at the US Postal Service team and elsewhere, has elected to have his case heard in an arbitration session next month.

USADA itself has said that it will file its reasoned decision in the Armstrong case with the UCI in a fortnight's time.

Should the lifetime ban it has handed to the Texan turn out to be in part based on the same alleged incidents that are the subject of the governing body's action against Kimmage, the question will arise of whether the UCI will seek to challenge USADA's decision in the Court of Arbitration for Sport, or even bring a separate defamation action against it.

According to a report in the Sunday Times this weekend, cited in the New York Daily News, USADA's evidence against Armstrong does indeed include signed affidavits from two former US Postal Service riders testifying that Armstrong told them he had failed a doping control during the 2001 Tour of Switzerland.

Another has reportedly testified that Armstrong told him that he was able to use his influence with the UCI get round ani-doping rules then in force.

In its statement released this evening, the UCI said:

"In response to questions concerning why almost one year ago the UCI initiated a court case against Paul Kimmage, the UCI wishes to issue the following clarification.

"Mr Kimmage had made false accusations that defamed the UCI and its Presidents, and which tarnished their integrity and reputation.

"Mr Kimmage is free to express and make public his opinions within the limits of the law and of the truth.

"False accusations are unacceptable and unlawful and the UCI will defend itself against all such accusations as any other citizen or entity has the right to do.

"The case against Mr Kimmage is limited to false accusations and does not concern other opinions of Mr Kimmage.   The case is based upon the protection of the personality rights.  Under the applicable Swiss law such case is directed against the person who made the defamatory statements.  In this case this person is Mr Kimmage."

Kimmage, who joined Twitter last month initially just to thank his supporters but was persuaded to stick around on the social network, himself tweeted a link to the press release shortly after it was sent out, saying: "Just fed this to my pitbull lawyer in Switzerland..."

Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.


The Rumpo Kid [589 posts] 5 years ago

"We never dreamed we might need an exit strategy for this one, so we're stuck with "toughing it out". Feck, what an absolute balls. I blame Carpani."

stuartanderson [35 posts] 5 years ago

Maybe Lance should 'come out' and tell the truth.........

dullard [140 posts] 5 years ago

50k says the weight of public opinion is against them, and the 'Presidents' are feeling the opprobrium. They do protest too much, methinks.

chairman [1 post] 5 years ago

Now we know the true meaning of the word "witchhunt".

Lacticlegs [124 posts] 5 years ago

It sucks for poor old Mr Kimmage, but on a wider view it's perhaps the best thing we could have wished for.

They are making themselves look vindictive, guilty and corrupt (most probably because they are vindictive, guilty and corrupt). If they keep this up it's only a matter of time before the pendulum swings right over and we get to replace their leadership...or who knows, maybe the UCI itself. Bargain! If the anti McQuaid/Verbruggen lobby were to script the ideal response from the UCI, it probably wouldn't stray too far from what they're actually doing.

Hang in there PK - I have just donated $75 to your defense fund, and will add more next month. Tell your pitbull lawyer to rip their nuts off!

Incidentally - what the hell happened with the Times? What kind of way is that to treat your employees? The Times was happy to print PK's work and enjoyed the notoriety of going up against the Armstrong PR machine...and then what, you fire the guy quietly as soon as expedient?

I am soooo never going to buy your paper again! That's almost £300 a year you've kissed goodbye! Murdoch will be on his knees soon...  3

skippy [416 posts] 5 years ago

ONE of the first to advertise the " Paul K. Defence Fund " was the Sunday Times ! Pity they were unaware of the " PETITION " :

THOSE of you that want to see the back of the Corrupt prats of Aigle w/out parting with dosh should sign on !
Greg Lemond has donated and spoken out in defense of Paul !
when UCI tried to silence him , his Lawyer warned them that they risked action in the US courts , seems that they applied common sense and backed off ! Could Greg see his way to acting now , and with a successful court action they could be subject to arrest if they visit the USA ?

THE UCI in winning against flandis established the following as a matter of record througfhout the Cycling World :
have concealed cases of doping.
received money for doing so.
have accepted money from Lance Armstrong to conceal a doping case.
have protected certain racing cyclists, concealed cases of doping.
have engaged in manipulation, particularly of tests and races.
have hesitated and delayed publishing the results of a positive test on Alberto Contador.
have accepted bribes.
are corrupt.
are terrorists.
have no regard for the rules.
load the dice.
are fools.
do not have a genuine desire to restore discipline to cycling.
are full of sh1t.
are clowns.
their words are worthless.
are liars.
are no different to Colonel Muammar Gaddafi.
are statements Floyd Landis is forbidden to make.

Seems that flandis cannot say these in the same words in Switzerland but WE ALL CAN !