Retired professional cyclist and campaigning journalist Paul Kimmage questioned whether his anti-doping crusade had been worthwhile after being notified of court action by the UCI.
The Irishman, whose seminal 1990 book Rough Ride, exposed doping practices in the peloton, told last Monday’s press conference of the group, Change Cycling Now, that after being subpoenaed in a legal action by the UCI in September, he had considered his 22-year campaign “a waste of time”.
Kimmage, who admitted in Rough Ride to his own, brief use of amphetamines at three criterion races, was made redundant by the Sunday Times in January.
The UCI case, since suspended, was brought under Swiss law, targeting him rather than the publisher of the allegations for which the UCI launched its legal action.
“I lost my job in January. It starts to bite after nine months. It was starting to bite when I receive the subpoena,” Kimmage told the press conference.
“The question I asked myself was, what did it serve? What did all your ranting and raving and the book and the good you tried to do for the sport, what did it serve? I said it served nothing. It was a waste of time.”
His mind was changed, however, by the foundation of a defence fund, hosted by the cycling website, nyvelocity.com. The fund stands today at $92,748.02.
“About a week later, the defence fund had set up, and I get bike fans who not only are supporting me but they’re putting their hand in their pocket. It’s a different thing when they put their hands in their pockets and support you in that way.
“There was a five day period where I thought, ‘It was a waste of time, what are you doing, what did it serve?’ And then I realised that it did serve some good. The public want clean sport. It’s important,” he said.
Kimmage filed a counter suit against the UCI in November, and has publically stated his desire to fill a jumbo jet with witnesses to testify in his case against cycling’s governing body.
The UCI has appointed an Independent Commission with eleven points of enquiry in response to the findings of the USADA investigation into organised doping at the Lance Armstrong-led US Postal team.
The commission, chaired by former appeal court judge Sir Phillip Otton, will report next June. Speaking at the CCN press conference, Kimmage launched a scathing attack on the governing body and the time it has afforded the commission to investigate and report.
“This needs to be dealt with and it needs to be dealt with as quickly as possible, and we need to keep reminding people day after day after day that it’s not the riders who are responsible for the mess this sport is in, because we’ve had the same people in charge now for 20 years,” he said.