Monday 19 March 2018

Cycling body suspends action against journalist as Armstrong role probed

Grainne Cunningham

The international cycling union has suspended legal action against journalist Paul Kimmage, which was due to begin in December.

The Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) took the action pending the outcome of an independent investigation into the organisation's role in the Lance Armstrong scandal.

An independent commission is to investigate allegations made against the UCI over the Armstrong affair that saw the seven-time Tour de France winner stripped of the titles he won from 1999-2005.

Legal proceedings against Mr Kimmage, pictured, were initiated in January by the UCI and its president, Pat McQuaid, and honorary president, Hein Verbruggen.

Both claimed to have been defamed by the journalist in articles published by 'The Sunday Times' and 'L'Equipe'.

At the time, a UCI spokesman told 'Cyclingnews' that the action had been taken because "Mr McQuaid cannot allow for him or the UCI to be called corrupt".

Unusually, the UCI did not seek damages from 'L'Equipe' or 'The Sunday Times', but only from Mr Kimmage. The Irishman left 'The Sunday Times' at the end of 2011.

Commenting on Twitter, Mr Kimmage wrote "How do I feel? I feel like Maximus as he prepared for battle" and also "On my signal, unleash hell".


Mr Kimmage had received a subpoena to attend a trial in Switzerland on December 12 and his supporters had already contributed to a defence fund set up online, which totals in excess of €83,000.

The decision to stall legal action against Mr Kimmage comes just days after Mr McQuaid insisted it would go ahead, arguing that it was a "straightforward defamation" case unrelated to the Armstrong findings.

Though it stopped short of terminating proceedings altogether, the UCI statement will come as good news for journalist Mr Kimmage and his supporters.

Irish Independent

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