Kimmage considers his options
CYCLING NEWS:LEARNING YESTERDAY that cycling’s world governing body, the UCI, has suspended the defamation case it was taking against him, Paul Kimmage is now considering his response.
However, there are indications that the Irish journalist may counterattack, with messages posted by him on Twitter and a statement by those running a defence fund set up to help him hinting at a counter-suit.
“How do I feel? I feel like Maximus as he prepared for battle,” he said via Twitter, later explaining to The Irish Times that he was not yet in a position to be able to say any more about the matter.
However, a statement by the defence fund co-ordinators was a little more clear.
“Our resolve in exposing the true nature of the actions by this organisation against the entire sport has never been more firm,” they wrote. “We will continue to operate the Kimmage Fund in order to prepare not only a possible defence against unjust actions by the UCI, but to explore with Paul his legal options to take the fight to the UCI.”
The fund was set up in mid-September when current UCI president Pat McQuaid and honorary president Hein Verbruggen had a summons delivered to Kimmage.
It alleged that Kimmage had defamed them in articles in the Sunday Times and L’Equipe, a charge he denies.
He has said that he believes the UCI has not run the sport properly, particularly in relation to the anti-doping aspect; they claim he has unjustly and inaccurately accused them of corruption.
As he had been out of regular work for many months, Kimmage was initially unsure how he would fight the case.
It means that if he does plan to take things further, he has the means to do so.
Meanwhile the UCI’s management committee meeting yesterday pledged “decisive action” in relation to the Armstrong/US Postal Service doping affair.
Coming together in Geneva, it confirmed that the disqualification of Lance Armstrong from his seven Tour titles should not result in the second-placed rider being given the title.
Instead, the winners’ slot from those years would be left blank, acting as a symbol of what the management committee referred to as a “dark period” in the sport’s history.
Both it and Tour de France organisers ASO said that they wanted the prize money originally paid to Armstrong handed back, a sum just short of €3 million.
In addition to that, the management committee has said that while it believes “enormous strides” have been made since 2005 as regards the fight against doping, that it has agreed to establish a fully independent external commission.
This will study the allegations made about the UCI in relation to the Armstrong affair, including claims that he was protected from positive tests and that bribes were paid. It will also determine ways to prevent those caught for doping from being involved in the sport across a range of capacities.
The Irish Times understands that national federations, riders’ and teams’ associations and others have been putting pressure on the UCI to implement an independent study of the whole affair, a demand they ultimately accepted yesterday.
No details have been given as yet as regards the composition of the commission. However, the UCI has said that an unnamed “independent sports body” will nominate the members in the week of November 5th and that the relevant terms of reference will be arranged between them and the management commission.
The intention is that their final report and recommendations are scheduled to be published no later than June 1st 2013. If Kimmage does push ahead with his own legal counterattacks, though, an outcome to that could be reached sooner.