Journalist, author and former professional cyclist Paul Kimmage is preparing to take on the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) with the help of public donations. The international cycling body subpoenaed the Irishman to appear in a Swiss Court on December 12 for articles he has written and an interview that he gave last year.
“The fact that they targeted me was quite vindictive, and it was all about keeping me quiet, getting a gagging order on me,” Kimmage told Cycling Weekly yesterday. “They just want to shut me up and give me a public slap.”
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UCI President Pat McQuaid and former president, Hein Verbruggen claim, according to Ireland’s Sunday Independent, Kimmage was “dishonest” in accusing them of “having knowingly tolerated [adverse findings in anti-doping] tests, of being dishonest people, of not having a sense of responsibility, of not applying the same rules to everyone.”
Kimmage wrote pieces on the subject for the Sunday Times and gave an interview to France’s L’Equipe newspaper in 2011. Part of his material resulted from an extensive interview with former rider Floyd Landis in January 2011.
According to Kimmage, McQuaid and Verbruggen had damaged their own reputations beforehand.
“Their reputation has been damaged by the fact they’ve been at the helm at the professional cycling, between the two of them, for more than 20 years. If it was any other profession, if you were to apply their incompetence, they would’ve been sacked years ago.”
He received the subpoena on September 19 to appear at Est Vaudois district court. The initial news came as a blow for Kimmage, who was made redundant from the Sunday Times after writing for them for 10 years.
A legal fund has been established to help Kimmage defend his stance has shown widespread support for his work. At time of writing, 1219 people have contributed a total of $39,872 (£24,600).
“I understand, they are supporting me, but essentially it’s not about me,” Kimmage said. “Outside of my immediate circle of friends, I believe [that for] everybody else it’s about [the UCI’s] incompetence. That’s what it’s about.”
Kimmage spent yesterday morning selecting his lawyer and starting to plan his defence. He said he will use the fund to pay his lawyer and fly in witnesses. One may be former pro cyclist Tyler Hamilton, who also claimed the UCI covered up positive tests.
“My intention would be to fill a Boeing 747 full of people, but that won’t actually be enough, in terms of people who’ve been disenfranchised and have witnessed how badly the sport’s been run firsthand.”
The UCI is seeking 8,000 Swiss francs (£5,260) and a printed apology. Kimmage questioned why the federation is after him and not the Sunday Times or L’Equipe. McQuaid said last week, “We’ve also done the same thing against Floyd Landis, so it’s not a question of [free] press, it’s a question of who says what.”