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Paul Kimmage loses libel case to ex-UCI boss Hein Verbruggen

Court orders Irish journalist to pay 12,000 Swiss Francs damages and not to repeat allegations

Professional cyclist turned award winning author and journalist Paul Kimmage has been ordered by a Swiss court to pay former UCI president Hein Verbruggen libel damages of CHF12,000 (£8,230).

Verbruggen, together with his successor at the top of the governing body Pat McQuaid and the UCI itself initiated the action in January 2012, claiming that articles written by Kimmage and published in outlets including The Sunday Times – which had made the journalist redundant just a fortnight earlier – had seriously damaged their reputations.

The articles included claims that the UCI had helped cover up positive anti-doping controls by Lance Armstrong, who later in 2012 would be banned from sport for life and stripped of results including the seven consecutive Tour de France titles he won between 1999 and 2005.

The judgment, a copy of which Kimmage shared on Twitter, forbids him from

... stating that Henricus Verbruggen knowingly tolerated doping, concealed test results, is dishonest, does not behave responsibly, did not apply the same rules to everyone, did not pursue Lance Armstrong after he had been provided with a backdated certificate, nor to make any allegation of that nature ...

Breach of that condition would leave Kimmage open to further potential action and penalties and he must also publicise the court’s decision through notices in The Sunday Times, L’Equipe, the Geneva-based newspaper Le Temps and on

When news broke that Verbruggen, McQuaid and the UCI planned to sue Kimmage there was anger among many cycling fans and bloggers on social media and many pledged to support him.

A defence fund was set up through the satirical website Cyclismas, raising almost $100,000 – although Aaron Brown, who had achieved minor notoriety on Twitter through his parody UCI Overlord account, absconded with the money.

With that money never recovered despite the efforts of donors and Cyclismas’s Leslie Cohen to pursue Brown through the courts, Jaimie Fuller, founder of compression clothing firm Skins and a campaigner against corruption in sporting governing bodies, stepped in to support Kimmage.

The UCI withdrew from the action in October 2013, shortly after Brian Cookson succeeded McQuaid as president, and the latter too would pull out of it, leaving Verbruggen on his own in the lawsuit.

On the day the case was heard in court last month, Kimmage tweeted: “A sincere thanks to all the cycling fans who supported me. A special thanks to Cedric Aguet [his lawyer], Jaimie Fuller and to my family and friends.

“Four years and three months is a long time to be locked in a taxi with the meter running. I would not have made it without you.”

Simon joined as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.

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Simmo72 | 8 years ago

Kimmage still the moral victor. HV has a great lawyer, thats all.  We all believe he is guilty.

me | 8 years ago

Excellent tweeter thingy by Kimmage.  This cements the reputations of all involved  1

tritecommentbot | 8 years ago

Verbruggen's bent.


No amount of lawyering will change that.

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