Embattled journalist sees nearly $20,000 donated to his legal defense fund over the weekend
Award-winning author and journalist Paul Kimmage is under fire from Pat McQuaid and Hein Verbruggen and is thankful for the assistance he’s received via an online fundraising page set up to fund his defense to a lawsuit filed by the current and former UCI chiefs.
McQuaid and Verbruggen have sued Kimmage, author of the groundbreaking 1990 book “Rough Ride,” which detailed doping culture in the pro peloton, over damages stemming from comments made by dethroned Tour de France winner Floyd Landis in a seven-hour interview published in The Sunday Times and online at NYVelocity.com and VeloNews.com in 2011, as well as Kimmage’s own comments to L’Equipe. In that interview, Landis accused the pair of, among other misdeeds, covering up a positive doping test for Lance Armstrong at the 2001 Tour de Suisse.
Landis’ testimony surrounding that alleged cover-up is believed to be included in the evidence the United States Anti-Doping Agency compiled in the case that resulted last month in its lifetime ban of Armstrong.
McQuaid and Verbruggen have previously filed suit against Landis, but have not pursued legal action against any of the outlets in which the interview ran. The Sunday Times laid Kimmage off late in 2011 as part of a large scale downsizing. The Kimmage case will be heard in the Est Vaudois district court in Vevey, Switzerland, on December 12.
Bloggers Andy Shen of NYVelocity.com and Lesli Cohen of Cyclismas.com set up the “Paul Kimmage Defense Fund” late last week. As of Monday morning, the fund had collected $18,260 in donations from 521 contributors.
Over the weekend, journalists at the UCI Road World Championships in Valkenburg, Netherlands, signed a petition in support of Kimmage.
McQuaid spoke with journalists at the road worlds on Saturday, and said that, “I repeat, the UCI has never hidden a sample of any rider, in particular Lance Armstrong… And other statements that the UCI had informed Armstrong in advance of testing, that’s another complete fallacy. That’s completely ridiculous.”
When asked directly about the Kimmage suit, McQuaid went quiet.
“It would be inappropriate for me to comment on that as there is a court case upcoming,” he said. “We have already stated why we are doing this. We have also done the similar case against Landis. It’s not a question of the press. It’s a question of the UCI.”
Kimmage told Cyclingnews.com over the weekend that he was hesitant to see the fund set up, but gratified to see the support he’s received.
“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,” said Kimmage.