An ex-journalist at the Sunday Times has said he being sued for defamation by the UCI as an attempt to silence his 22-year fight to expose the extent of doping.
Paul Kimmage, was made redundant from the paper in January and received notice of a lawsuit in Switzerland two weeks later. He will face a court in the town of Vevey, near Geneva, on 12 December.
Kimmage told Press Gazette he was “not surprised, but astonished” that the UCI continued to pursue him even after Lance Armstrong had thrown in the towel over his doping allegations, effectively vindicating the journalist.
“Given the tidal wave of evidence out there about Armstrong and the degree to which the governing body were complicit in that, I’m absolutely astonished that they are pursuing this,” he said.
Kimmage said he had “absolutely no idea what it’s [the legal action] going to cost but I don’t imagine it’s going to be cheap”.
Asked why he was being personally targeted, he replied: “I think it’s purely a gagging order. They want to try to shut me up basically.”
Enrico Carpani, communications director at the UCI, said: "The UCI is not trying to silent the press at all, nor to question the freedom of journalists: we are just defending our self from unacceptable and defaming statements made by a journalist who never could prove his allegations.”
Kimmage says that the extent of the defence fund in his name means that he is now in a position to defend his case in the court, and is meeting his Swiss lawyers next week.