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Friday Follies: UCI Suspends Case Against Whistleblower Kimmage

The UCI has learned at least one lesson from the Armstrong mess: how to admit defeat.

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Earlier today, in a press release trumpeting its "decisive action" in the Armstrong case -- not reallocating Lance's Tour victories; can you just feel the decisiveness!? -- the UCI casually mentioned that it is suspending its legal action against journalist/whistleblower Paul Kimmage. According to the UCI, it will not pursue the litigation until it receives the findings of an external commission, which will be created to look into the UCI's handling of doping matters.

That last bit is pretty big news. Well, it could be big news. If an independent commission is independent enough and receives proper cooperation, to the extent that it can come back and tell us all about how the UCI really handles doping cases in the McQuaid-Verbruggen era, then that would be something indeed. Not holding my breath, but we can hope.

But for the Kimmage case, kicking the matter to a committee is an admission of total defeat on the part of McQuaid and co. The Kimmage Defense Fund observes (correctly) that the "suspension" is a way of taking the suit out of the media, where the UCI was getting creamed. With the heat off, the matter goes into a file someplace, possibly to be reopened when the commission's findings are available and the validity of the suit can be reassessed in light of what they turn up. That's one theoretical outcome. Back here on Planet Earth, however, the likely outcome is that we'll never hear of it again.

Kimmage, for his part, is taking it with characteristic grace:


Hopefully today is the day the UCI stops embarrassing itself. Surely there are enough sane people in the member federations and the UCI staff to see how messed up their direction is. Maybe the prime culprits, McQuaid and Verbruggen, still actually care about cycling's future but behind the scenes, it's all a lot more complicated than it appears. Maybe. Either way, if this commission is for real, I'm making popcorn for when that report comes out.