Paul Kimmage has spoken about the defense fund set up in order to raise funds for his legal battle against Pat McQuaid, Hein Verbruggen and the UCI.
The sport’s governing body began legal proceedings against Kimmage earlier this year and the action stemmed from a body of work for The Sunday Times newspaper, which includes an extensive interview with Floyd Landis published in January 2011, and in response to criticism of the UCI that Kimmage expressed in an interview with L'Équipe. However, the UCI has not requested damages from L'Équipe or The Sunday Times, only from Kimmage. The Irishman left The Sunday Times at the end of 2011.
The author of "Rough Ride" and former Sunday Times writer received a subpoena on Wednesday from the Est Vaudois district court, which is based in Vevey, near UCI headquarters at Aigle. The case is to be heard on December 12.
However once the subpoena became public knowledge support for Kimmage sprung up and within a matter of hours a defense fund was set up on nyvelocity and cyclismas. So far the fund has raised over $11,000.
“I had no say in it and I was really, really uncomfortable with the notion of people putting their hands in their pockets for me because there are a million better causes out there than this. Having said that, it’s one thing for people to say they support you, but when they put their hands in their pockets and put money up for you, that takes it to a completely new level and I’ve been blown away and absolutely staggered and humbled by it. So I can’t thank those people enough,” Kimmage told Cyclingnews.
“Since I wrote "Rough Ride" in 1990, it’s certainly the most gratifying thing that’s ever happened to me in the sport by a long, long way. My thoughts are now, are that whatever happens I wont let any of those people down. I’m not sure what that means or how it’s going to end. I am sure I won’t let those people down.”
David Millar and Jonathan Vaughters have both spoken out against the UCI’s actions. Millar, who attended the UCI’s press conference at the Worlds went to Twitter, stating, “UCI = SHAMEFUL. They continue to sue Kimmage which is disgusting and Verbruggen speaks out proving he must have nothing to do with cycling.”
And the funds donated have changed Kimmage’s outlook on the case.
“In January I didn’t see how I was going to defend myself given that I’d just been made unemployed,” he said.
“Now a lot has changed in the last few days and I’ve got to review my options.”
The case will be heard in December, while the UCI is still awaiting the ‘reasoned decision’ from USADA in relation to its investigation into Lance Armstrong. Cycling’s governing body is also in the process of legal action against former cyclist Floyd Landis, although Verbruggen recently told Cyclingnews that his legal team could not find the former US Postal and Phonak rider.
As for Kimmage, he is still weighing up his options but along with his vigour for the case, he is hoping that cycling will use this opportunity to change itself, and not waste the chance like it did in the wake of the Festina scandal of 1998.
“I got a list of times that the UCI witnesses are going to be interviewed. I presume at some stage I’ll be interviewed and at some stage I’ll have a platform to have my say. I really look forward to that. If I get talking about anti-doping and the UCI that could take a while,” he said.
“To hear Pat McQuaid say yesterday that they had no responsibility in terms of doping and the culture of doping, what an insult that is. Pat McQuaid, the UCI and Hein Verbruggen are accountable to no one and responsible for nothing. What we need in the sport is a president who says, yes I will be accountable for anti-doping and how the sport is run. What we’re getting is the complete opposite at the moment. For me this is a watershed moment for the sport, not for my case but for the sport and the UCI.
“If what happened after Festina happens again after Armstrong, that the people at top of the sport are still in charge, if that happens again and there’s no accountability then the sport is doomed and there’s no hope for clean cycling. WADA are the only hope, that they might step in.”