Paul Kimmage has admitted he may never again speak to his one-time colleague David Walsh.
The journalists are credited with exposing Lance Armstrong’s part in the world of doping in cycling. However, a row developed in July after The Sunday Times writer’s defence of Team Sky and its Tour de France winner Chris Froome. Walsh claimed the “mob” were wrong about Froome the same way they were wrong about Armstrong.
Kimmage took the comment personally : “I found it insulting in some ways, I’ve got to be honest.”
In an article in yesterday’s Living section of the Sunday Independent he added that the pair’s relationship had been crumbling for some time but the inference that he was part of a mob was too much.
“It’s been very, very difficult. Let’s just say we have had a difference of opinion,” he said. “I spent about two hours in Dublin Airport screaming at him, letting him know exactly what I thought.
“Then we patched things up again and then July [and the Tour de France] came. What he wrote was also part of it. I don’t want to say too much out of respect to him, his kids, my kids. I don’t know if I will ever speak to him again.
“We fought in the same trenches for a long time but the difference is that I rode the Tour three times. It runs real deep with me.”
Kimmage also spoke about the effect redundancy had on him and his family after he was let got by The Sunday Times for what he claims was his stance on doping.
He believes it all started when a piece he wrote about Armstrong after the American targeted him at an infamous press conference in 2009 was never printed “even though everyone was talking about it”.
“Then he made his comeback and I was told I had to write about him and then when I did write about him the pieces ended up being butchered,” he said.
“In 2010, I wrote about Sky, a Murdoch company, and was told ‘we can’t run that’. In 2011 this was happening more and more. And when cuts were made, obviously I was going to be the person to go.”
He’s in a better place now though.
“I’m tempted to use the word crushing but one good thing that came out of it was that I became a lot closer to my kids. My youngest broke down crying after [I lost my job]. That really put things in perspective for me. They pick on the negativity very quickly.”
The anguish he went through writing Engage: The Fall and Rise of Matt Hampson also had took its toll on his private life.
“That’s been on my hands for 25 odd years,” he said pointing to his wedding ring.
“It came off once. I was doing a book about quadriplegic rugby player Matt Hampson and it was putting huge pressure on me professional and by extension, personally, and Ann said ‘look you have to step back from this, this is hurting us’. And I lost the head with her and said ‘fuck it’ and [the ring] came off — bang! I slammed it down on the fucking table and it was like ‘I’m fucking doing this fucking book.’”
While he admitted he would love to have been a co-author for Roy Keane’s autobiography, he still holds out hope that Michelle de Bruin will accede to an interview request one day.
“I would love to have [her] sitting opposite me and have her really explain why she did it. I bear her no malice whatsoever. She cried on the Late Late about how badly she’d been treated by Paul Kimmage. I wanted to tell her: it was never personal. It was about the issue in her sport.”
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