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Pat McQuaid, Hein Verbruggen and UCI launch defamation action against Paul Kimmage

Papers filed in Swiss court regarding 'damage to reputation' caused by journalist's allegations...

Former pro cyclist turned author and journalist Paul Kimmage is reportedly being sued in a Swiss court by fellow Irishman and UCI president Pat McQuaid, the latter’s predecessor in that position, Hein Verbruggen, and the governing body itself. Each is claiming damages of 8,000 Swiss Frances (£5,540).

According to a report in the Irish Independent, McQuaid, Verbruggen and the UCI claim in papers said to have been filed at the Swiss district court that stories by Kimmage published principally in The Sunday Times and L’Equipe have seriously damaged their reputations.

According to the newspaper, the 49-year-old Kimmage, whose award-winning autobiography Rough Ride, published in 1990, shed light on doping within the peloton, is said to have been “dishonest” in his allegations against McQuaid, Verbruggen and the UCI.

Those are said to include having accused them of "having knowingly tolerated tests, of being dishonest people, of not having a sense of responsibility, [and] of not applying the same rules to everyone."

Should Kimmage lose, he could be required to take out advertisements in newspapers worldwide to communicate the court’s decision, paid for out of his own pocket.

As the Irish Independent notes, one curiosity of the case is that it is Kimmage being sued, not the newspapers that published the articles.
However, it should be pointed out that in November it was reported that he was to lose his staff position at The Sunday Times.

McQuaid was Kimmage’s manager in the Ireland cycling team that took part in the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics, and there are a number of similarities between the two men.

Both are from Dublin and belong to Irish cycling dynasties, with fathers who had been national road race champion and brothers who also entered the sport – six in McQuaid’s case, two in Kimmage’s.

Each won the Irish national road race title during successful amateur careers before going on to brief but unspectacular professional careers – their biggest impact on the sport coming through the activities they chose to undertake post-retirement.

In their current roles, each have regularly clashed, including over the allegations Floyd Landis has made about doping by Lance Armstrong and the US Postal Service team. Last year, the UCI confirmed that McQuaid and Verbruggen were to sue Landis over his accusations that the governing body had covered up a positive test for EPO involving seven-time Tour de France winner Armstrong.

There have been no further developments in that case, but one theory being advanced on forums is that in taking action against Landis and now Kimmage, the UCI and its past and current president are attempting effectively to gag them ahead of any revelations that may result from the ongoing enquiry in the US into doping that is centred around Armstrong and US Postal Service.

In November 2010, Landis gave a five-hour interview to Kimmage that formed the basis of an article in The Sunday Times in which the former US Postal Service and Phonak rider, who was stripped of the 2006 Tour de France, made a series of allegations against Armstrong and the UCI.

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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proliteguy | 12 years ago

wait until you see the latest McQuad and Co rules for anyone wanting to ride in a UCI sanctioned race. We are now talking about UCI approved, socks, gloves, arm angles on aero bars, approved spirit levels and bike weighing equipment,not to mention the fact they re-wrote the wheel testing and frame approval system without telling anyone in the industry, all in the interest of rider safety and nothing to do with getting money from manufacturers.

skippy | 12 years ago

For years i have been calling for an " Amnesty " so that the " Cheats " can be outted once and for all !
Those at the top of the sport are the ones who need to get their closets emptied and until the likes of McQuack and those he heads up clear their decks , the Cycling Industry will continue to be treated with disdain !

The current crop of Stars are being " tarred by the same Brush " since most of their managements have the whiff of corruption since they do not act in concert to force the issue !

Currently people feel that it is the best Pharmacists that are winning in this Sport and that there is too little being done to find those that wish to continue to drag the sport through the mud !

Even after an " Amnesty " there will be mugs who think they can beat the system but with Harsh Penalties such as " Total Exclusion from ANY SPORT employment for them and their assistants for their lifetime " there will be less benefit available to the athlete or their staff !

comm88 | 12 years ago

That's the trouble with truth and honesty - where do you draw the line? Me, I'm not big on whistle blowers - unless they blow the whistle at the time, while they're "in there" ... not when they've finished and they've fed richly in some cases off the table.

For years I have believed that Armstrong was clean. I still want to believe that, but given the weevils out of the woodwork stories just lately, I really am not that sure any more. The old "he said, she said" defence.

Pro cycling once was a mucky business for sure. Pls don't applaud Pantini's "achievements" - he was drugs cheat, plain and simple and it killed him. And how Virenque has the balls and gall to sit in judgement and comment on cycle racing is beyond me - what a shitty cheat!!

But now we've got Geraint Thomas, Mark Cavendish, Bradley Wiggins and a host of other world class riders who are all squeaky clean ... so why can't we concentrate our press stories on the good guys these days and forget about the shit bags that have gone before?

There's rarely smoke without fire and if these people really are cheats and have had their reputations destroyed and can't find work in cycling, tough shit.

If you did it, put up and say so. If you didn't, prove it and defend yourself beyond any doubt. But don't posture. It's time to tell the real truth - and that includes your Mr Armstrong.

WolfieSmith | 12 years ago

Kimmage may be in a few peoples faces too close for some people taste. I think he's going after the right people for the right reasons. If Kimmage wasn't Irish and from McQuaid's home town he would still be going after him and it wouldn't be mistaken for a personal attack.

He's pretty disappointed with Kelly and Roche in Rough Ride. I cannot comment on any involvement his fellow riders may or may not have had with doping in the 1980's. I can imagine in those days with less control there wasn't much of a choice. Ostracising those that break the code of silence is some people's choice I suppose. The strong ones stand up and come clean - which is why I admire Miller and support his bid to ride this summer.

You can't control doping by not being transparent at the the top. Something's going on and it would be great for the sport to find out what.

McQuaid is beginning to make Sepp Blatter look like Mary Poppins and this just makes him look even more silly.

ironbloke | 12 years ago

A balanced view is difficult. Just finished "Rough Ride", "It's not about the bike", "Bad Blood" and "Racing through the dark" (Lots of Christmas presents!) Everyone has on opinion...and an agenda! It's just a shame that so much media interest is on doping and not on turning the cranks. Maybe I'll read less and ride more  1

Krazyfrenchkanuck | 12 years ago

£5,540 ?  7
After an indepth analysis by their lawyers, they must have come to the conclusion that they could sue for a total of 5,540£, ...
40£ for damages to the reputation and 5,500£ as punitive damages!  39
Everyone knows these guys reputation are not worth more than 40£ !

festival | 12 years ago

The Australian lady cyclists recent opinion of McQuaid just about sums it up.

Decster | 12 years ago

UCI what a joke! A most corrupt orgnisation run by a man who broke the IOC apartheid ban of competing in South africa and now runs UCI and is a member of the IOC. A dishonest person who does not belong in sport.

Kimmage had every right to be bitter as a rider. He spent most of his young life riding/training to be a pro only to find out it was a very dirty game, still is. He refuses to accept that people continue to let the UCI/ASO/DS/Doping doctors mess with riders lives and talents. I know i would.

Lacticlegs replied to Decster | 12 years ago

Couldn't agree more Decster.

Kimmage has every right to be bitter - do you have any idea how much of your soul goes into training like that? Only to be crushed by the drug-addled, amphetamine fuelled circus that was (is!) the peloton - I'd be pretty bitter too!

And it's not as though he can just 'get past it' - it's not something that's in the past. It's ongoing.

Moreover he's right - McQuaid and co are exactly the 'leaders' one would expect a tainted sport like cycling to have. The scandinavians have a saying that translates to 'the fish goes rotten from the head'. Until cycling can rid itself of McQuaid and the other senior figures of the Sep Blatter school of management, nothing will change.

Thank God there are people like Kimmage who care enough to keep plugging away at a hopeless situation!

eddie11 | 12 years ago

its a smokescreen as its the CAS verdict on Contador soon if not today?

arrieredupeleton | 12 years ago

It's the sound of the brush being taken out of the cupboard and the carpet being lifted....

JDee | 12 years ago

Kimmage always seemed a very bitter man to me. I can understand if he felt he was wronged by riders doping during his career but that was over 20yrs ago, the man needs to let it go and have a more positive outlook.

SevenHills | 12 years ago

Attempting to tread carefully here but i didn't think their reputations could be any more damaged?

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