The UCI issued a statement today in which it sought to clarify its position regarding its current legal actions against journalist and former professional cyclist Paul Kimmage, the author of "Rough Ride" and an outspoken critic of cycling's governing body.
It is believed that the UCI's legal actions against Kimmage stemmed from his work published in The Sunday Times newspaper, highlighted by his interview with Floyd Landis, as well as in L’Équipe, where an interview was published in which the Irishman criticized the UCI. In today's statement from the UCI, the governing body explained why it's seeking legal redress from Kimmage, and not from the newspapers The Sunday Times and L’Équipe.
"The case against Mr Kimmage is limited to false accusations and does not concern other opinions of Mr Kimmage," read the UCI statement. "The case is based upon the protection of the personality rights. Under the applicable Swiss law such case is directed against the person who made the defamatory statements. In this case this person is Mr. Kimmage.
"Mr. Kimmage had made false accusations that defamed the UCI and its Presidents, and which tarnished their integrity and reputation," said the UCI. "Mr. Kimmage is free to express and make public his opinions within the limits of the law and of the truth. False accusations are unacceptable and unlawful and the UCI will defend itself against all such accusations as any other citizen or entity has the right to do."
In January of this year current UCI president Pat McQuaid, former president Hein Verbruggen and the governing body itself filed a claim for damages against Kimmage in a Swiss court. In a statement issued at that time, a spokesperson for the UCI told Cyclingnews, "Mr. McQuaid can not allow for him or the UCI to be called corrupt."
Kimmage received a subpoena in late September from the Est Vaudois district court, which is based in Vevey, near UCI headquarters at Aigle, Switzerland. The case is to be heard on December 12.
Supporters of Kimmage have since rallied around the Irishman, starting an online defense fund which has raised in excess of US$47,000 and continues to grow.