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"On behalf of the whistle blowers... who stood up for truth and the sport they loved and were dismissed as 'cowards' and 'scumbags' by Verbruggen and McQuaid"...

The cycling journalist Paul Kimmage has lodged a criminal complaint against Hein Verbruggen and Pat McQuaid of the UCI, after they brought him to the brink of a defamation lawsuit over articles about their involvement in the Armstrong doping scandal published by The Sunday Times and L’Equipe .

The counter-suing, for slander or defamation, denigration and "strong suspicions of fraud", comes just days after the UCI suspended its action against Kimmage, pending an independent investigation into the organisation's involvement in the Armstrong affair.

Kimmage wrote on Twitter: "I have lodged a criminal complaint against Hein Verbruggen and Pat McQuaid.

"I have initiated these proceedings not for myself - this is not about Paul Kimmage, but on behalf of the whistle blowers - Stephen Swart, Frankie Andreu, Floyd Landis, Christophe Bassons, Nicolas Aubier, Gilles Delion, Graeme Obree and every other cyclist who stood up for truth and the sport they loved and were dismissed as "cowards" and "scumbags" by Verbruggen and McQuaid."

A statement released by Kimmage's lawyers, Bonnard Lawson, said the complaint had been lodged with the public prosecutor in the Swiss town of Vevey.

The statement added: "Paul Kimmage complains, among other things, that he was dragged through the mud, that he was called a liar in public and accused in public of committing offences against the honour after he had obtained the publication of an interview by Floyd Landis in which the latter denounced the conduct of the highest officials of the International Cycling Union (UCI)."

Just last month, McQuaid said: “This is about a journalist who accused me and my predecessor and the UCI of being corrupt, and it’s a straightforward defamation case."

Kimmage was due in Switzerland on December 12th to attend trial, backed by a legal fund supplied by his supporters, which made over 83,000 dollars in donations.

In an open letter on his Facebook page, Greg Lemond, who now reverts to being the only American ever to win the Tour de France, said: "Pat McQuaid, you know damn well what has been going on in cycling, and if you want to deny it, then even more reasons why those who love cycling need to demand that you resign."

After an unpromising start, having to be bribed by her parents to learn to ride without stabilisers, Sarah became rather keener on cycling in her university years, and was eventually persuaded to upgrade to proper road cycling by the prospect of a shiny red Italian bike, which she promptly destroyed by trapping a pair of knickers in the rear derailleur. Sarah writes about about cycling every weekend on road.cc.