UCI's McQuaid and Verbruggen push ahead with legal action against journalist despite Armstrong life ban

Thursday, 20 September 2012
By Duncan Mackay

Pat McQuaid_with_Prince_Charles__Camilla_London_2012_July_28September 20 - International Cycling Union (UCI) President Pat McQuaid (pictured) and Hein Verbruggen, his predecessor, are to continue pursuing legal action against Irish journalist Paul Kimmage in a case that is linked to the recent decision to ban seven-time Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong for life and strip him of all his results since 1998.

Kimmage, a former professional cyclist who first exposed how widespread doping was in the sport when in 1990 he wrote the critically-acclaimed book Rough Ride, received a subpoena yesterday from the Tribunal D'Arrondissement de L'Est Vaudois in Vevey, close to where both McQuaid and Verbruggen live, VeloNews reported today

The case will be heard at 9am on December 12, when the UCI are expected to call a number of witnesses, the website reported. 

Paul KimmagePaul Kimmage is facing a date in court in December with Pat McQuaid and Hein Verbruggen

McQuaid and Verbruggen initiated the the action in January and are each seeking damages of €6,600 (£5,532/$8,668) claiming to the Swiss District Court that they feel "their reputation has been seriously damaged" by Kimmage, mainly in articles published in British newspaper The Sunday Times and French newspaper L'Équipe.

In the statement of claim filed nine months ago, they say that the award-winning sports journalist had been dishonest in accusing them of "having knowingly tolerated tests, of being dishonest people, of not having a sense of responsibility, of not applying the same rules to everyone".

As part of the action, McQuaid and Verbruggen are demanding Kimmage does not repeat the statements made before about UCI and that he pays for advertisements in international media publicising the final judgement of the court.

Hein Verbruggen_with_Lance_ArmstrongIrish journalist Paul Kimmage has raised questions about the close relationship between former UCI President Hein Verbruggen (left) and seven-time Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong (right)

Kimmage has written extensively about Armstrong and his relationship with UCI, which has recently come under increased scrutiny following the decision last month by the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) to ban Armstrong after he decided not to respond to allegations that he had used performance-enhancing drugs. 

One of the main compliants centres around an interviews Kimmage conducted with former Armstrong team-mates Floyd Landis and Tyler Hamilton, in which they both claimed that the UCI had shielded Armstrong from testing positive during his career. 

The UCI have consistently denied the allegation. 

Verbruggen, who is now the honorary President of the UCI, last year reportedly claimed that Armstrong "has never used doping...never, never, never".

Contact the writer of this story at duncan.mackay@insidethegames.biz


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