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Cycling chiefs spin the wheels of justice

Word has reached From The Stands of a claim made in a Swiss court by, among others, Dubliner Pat McQuaid against another Dubliner, journalist and former cyclist Paul Kimmage.

McQuaid, who is the president of the International Cycling Union (UCI), is seeking damages of 8,000 Swiss francs (about €6,600) from Kimmage. In the same action, the UCI and its vice-president Hein Verbruggen are also each seeking 8,000 Swiss francs.

McQuaid -- who managed an Irish team which included Kimmage at the 1984 Olympics -- and his fellow claimants have accused Kimmage of causing them "annoyance". They have told the Swiss District Court that they feel "their reputation has been seriously damaged" by Kimmage, mainly in articles published in the Sunday Times and L'Equipe which they take exception to, and, in what appears an unusual development, they have opted to take action against Kimmage personally and not the newspapers.

They are demanding that he not repeat the material they have complained of, and that at his own expense he take out advertisements in the international media publicising the court's final order. Kimmage also faces the prospect of a fine if they are not happy that he has followed the court order.

In the statement of claim, they say Kimmage 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".

Kimmage has campaigned strongly against cheating and drug use in cycling for three decades, both as a competitor and then as a journalist. He has also asked hard questions of the sport's administrators.

He famously questioned Lance Armstrong's bona fides, while his interview with Floyd Landis broke new ground in the campaign against drugs. Landis is also being sued separately by the same claimants.

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Some sports stars use Twitter to update their followers on their training progress, others share their musings, while a few even use it to endorse products or companies.

One of the latter is Kerry footballer Paul Galvin. Last week alone he thanked the Killarney Park Hotel for the lovely suite he stayed in and Audi for the new car he received.

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'Big thanks to Audi for my new A5s-line coupe. It's class. Any Audi fans out there??' tweeted Galvin. He accompanied the tweet with a picture of his impressive new car.

Just after Galvin posted the picture of his new car, Monaghan's Dick Clerkin tweeted, 'Big thanks to Fiat for my new wheels, they are class, thanks Fiat! Any Fiat fans out there??' Clerkin also posted a picture, although the old mint green Fiat didn't really compare to Galvin's sleek black sports car.

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WHO would you think comes second to England in supplying players to the Premier League? France, Spain, or neighbours Scotland perhaps? Wrong, wrong and wrong again.

The answer, which will come as a surprise to many, is the Republic of Ireland: 34 players with Irish passports have featured in the Premier League so far this season, four more than third-placed France, and 14 more than next best Spain. Scotland and Wales are joint fifth on 19. England supplied 185 players.

Where the news is not so good is that none of the Irish players are with top-five clubs; Leon Best with sixth-placed Newcastle is our best. The majority of the players are with mid-table or lower-table teams.

This is in sharp contrast to the Irish squad which qualified for Euro 88, when top-five clubs -- Liverpool, Manchester United and Everton -- supplied the bulk of that fine team.

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THIS is a good time to be a Liverpool fan if you also happen to be a bibliophile. Ronnie Whelan, with help from our own Tommy Conlon, produced his book in time for the Christmas market, and now Dietmar Hamann is coming here on February 18, to promote his 'love affair with Liverpool'.

Whelan was a European Cup winner in the '80s, while Hamann's success in the Champions League was in 2005. In that final, he replaced Steve Finnan at half-time when AC Milan were leading 3-0. Liverpool brought the game to penalties, and Hamann scored one of the latter .

John Greene, Seán Ryan

and Marie Crowe


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