Friday 19 January 2018

'I am a journalist, not a clown' - Paul Kimmage reveals terms for interview with Lance Armstrong

Lance Armstrong and Paul Kimmage
Lance Armstrong and Paul Kimmage

Harry Clarke

Sunday Independent columnist Paul Kimmage insists he would love to interview old foe Lance Armstrong - but not if it descends into a "circus act".

Respected journalist Kimmage was a prominent figure in the long-running and exhaustive investigations that ended with disgraced Armstrong admitting he had taken drugs throughout his cycling career, including his seven Tour De France wins between 1999 and 2005.

The American sporting icon was subsequently stripped of those titles after he confirmed he had used performance enhancing drugs to win each race, sparking what has been noted as one of the biggest falls from grace in sporting history.

Armstrong and Kimmage were involved in a famous confrontation at a press conference before the 2009 Tour of California after the Irishman had referred to him as a 'cancer in cycling'.

Armstrong recently made a public apology to Kimmage on Newtalk's Off the Ball show and listed a host of people who were caught up in his doping scandal with whom he has tried to make amends.

The American cyclist will be in Dublin this month for the One Zero sports conference and he recently tweeted Kimmage to say we would welcome being interviewed by the Sunday Independent columnist.

Kimmage responded by saying that while he would love to interview Armstrong, it would not be on "these terms".

Kimmage appeared on the Ray D'Arcy Show on RTE last night and clarified his position on the matter.

"The context of the tweet was, he was coming to this conference in Dublin (One Zero). I had heard they were going to hire a top-class interviewer to do it," said Kimmage.

"I thought, mistakingly, I might be in the frame. I wasn't in the frame, it was announced that someone else was going to do it. I said that the person going to do it would need to know everything about him or else it was going to be a charade.

"He listened to this and called me out on Twitter. I just said, 'listen, Lance, you are confusing me with one of those muppets who dances to your tune'.

"I sent another message saying: 'I will answer you, but I am not sure you deserve it. I would love to sit down with you, but not on these terms'.

"I am a journalist. I am not a clown. It wasn't going to be a circus act. When I interview Lance Armstong, it will be two chairs, one room, nobody else there."

Armstrong confirmed he would welcome a sit-down with Kimmage during his recent Off The Ball interview and this is something that appeals strongly to Kimmage.

"I am a journalist who works in sport but most of all I love people. I am fascinated by people and whatever you say about this guy, he is one of the most interesting sports people we have ever had and I would relish the thought of sitting down in a quiet room and try to unpick that and get to the root of him."

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