‘Rough Rider,’ New Documentary Film About Paul Kimmage

Paul Kimmage in NYC in 2012. (Eloy Anzola)

Paul Kimmage in New York City in December 2012. (Photo by Eloy Anzola of groovylab)

By Daniel McMahon

Wildfire Films has been working on a documentary film about Irish journalist Paul Kimmage called Rough Rider, named after Kimmage’s seminal book about doping in pro cycling, Rough Ride.

“We are currently in pre-production on Rough Rider, the story of Paul Kimmage’s quest to find honesty and hope inside the most physically and mentally demanding race on the planet, the Tour de France,” Wildfire wrote on its website.

Wildfire Films is based in Dublin, Ireland, Kimmage’s hometown and residence.

“To this point, we have filmed with Paul as he has seen Lance Armstrong’s fall from grace while Paul himself has been threatened with legal action by senior members of the UCI, the world cycling body.

“This summer, we will follow him on the 100th Tour de France. Told against the backdrop of the centenary Tour, and through the eyes of one of the most aggravated whistleblowers in sports journalism, we are going on a journey that could prove to be one of the most contentious sports films of our time.”

cyclingreporter interviewed Kimmage in December 2012 during his trip to New York City, where Wildfire was shooting footage for Rough Rider.

Wildfire said the film is due for completion by November 2013, with broadcast and screening details to be confirmed.

Following is the filmmaker’s note on Vimeo for the trailer:

The most spectacular sporting event in the world in 2013 will take place next July, when for twenty one days, the 100th Tour de France sees 180 cyclists pedal over 3,000km around the French countryside. This grueling event will be cheered on by huge roadside crowds and accompanied by the mighty caravan of global media, sponsors, medics and support staff that keep the wheels turning.

Within that media scrum sits one of the worlds most cantankerous sports journalists. Paul Kimmage has spent the last 22 years fighting to rid his most beautiful sport of doping. The former professional cyclist is detested by many in the sport, led by Lance Armstrong, fellow journalists and heads of the world cycling governing body.

Throughout the twenty one days of the most grueling road race, we travel with journalist Paul Kimmage in his caravan, giving us an extraordinary insight into the fascinating, beautiful and often shocking world of professional cycling. At its heart this is a story of one man’s unrequited love for his sport.

Right now, there is no sport with a bigger credibility fight on its hands than cycling, and no event where genuine romance coexists so uncomfortably with hideous reality than the Tour de France. Told against the backdrop of the centenary Tour, and through the eyes of one of the most aggravated whistleblowers in sports journalism, we are going on a journey that could prove to be one of the most contentious sports films of our time.

Follow Paul Kimmage on Twitter at @PaulKimmage.



Travis Tygart, Lance Armstrong’s Ahab, Makes the TIME 100


By Daniel McMahon

I’ve been freelancing for TIME magazine, and this week we cranked out the TIME 100, a special annual issue featuring the most influential people in the world as voted on by readers and TIME’s editors.

TIME is the world’s largest newsmagazine, and the entire project was fascinating to be a part of. Lots of good reporting and many fine contributors. And some very interesting picks.

As a cyclist, I was especially excited to work on the page for Travis Tygart.

Dick Pound, former chairman of the World Anti-Doping Agency and a member of the International Olympic Committee, wrote the page, opening with these words:

The measure of a man who does his duty is not what others think of him but his own commitment to doing what is right.

Read more here.

TIME 100


travis tygart armstrong google search

A screenshot taken from a Google results page for “Travis Tygart” on April 17, 2013.


Local, National Backlash Grows Against UCI Rule That Bars Riders From ‘Unsanctioned’ Races

David Trimble UCI USAC rule banned races

Red Hook Crit owner and race director David Trimble. (Photo courtesy of Red Hook Crit)

By Daniel McMahon

Last week I reported on a controversial rule from the International Cycling Union (UCI) that bars riders who hold a UCI license from competing in so-called banned or unsanctioned races.

The story appeared on VeloNews.com late Friday, and already it has received lots of comments that universally criticize both the UCI and USA Cycling (USAC).

The argument, at least from the U.S. perspective, can be boiled down to this:

On the one hand, USAC is saying it is merely enforcing the rule as it has been passed down from the sport’s global governing body, the UCI, to whose rules and regulations it is largely bound.

On the other hand, riders, race promoters, and fans are crying foul, alleging that the rule is bullshit and clearly an attempt by the UCI and USAC to stunt the growth of grassroots racing and squash any “breakaway leagues” that wish to operate independent of the UCI and USAC.

The rule affects lots of riders and races.

In 2012, for example, there were about 3,000 UCI license holders in the U.S., according to the USAC representative I spoke with, Sean Petty.

It’s a David-versus-Goliath struggle, and it appears that Goliath has won. Whether the governing bodies will change their minds is unclear, but today it looks extremely unlikely.

This means that in 2013 any of those UCI license holders who want to race can do so only if races are run by UCI or USAC, with few exceptions.

Speaking of Davids, David Trimble, owner and race director of the Brooklyn-based Red Hook Crit, has written a letter to USAC CEO Steve Johnson and published it on his Red Hook website.

Under the rule, Trimble’s race is considered unsanctioned and banned in the eyes of the UCI and, by extension, USAC.

Trimble has had great success with his race, and he makes some very good points in his argument.

Here’s an excerpt:

Dear Steve Johnson:

As the founder of the Red Hook Criterium I have tried hard to stay out of cycling politics. With the current rise of the RHC and the latest ‘clarification’ from the global and national sanctioning body I share my thoughts:

The announced enforcement of Rule 1.2.019 is the beginning of a civil war within the sport launched from above. With decades of scandals, corruption, erased record books and disgusting ‘win at all costs’ mentality the pinnacle of this sport isn’t really the pinnacle at all. The revolution in cycling is already here and unfortunately for the established guard it has not been launched on their watch. Stop gap efforts by the way of punishing athletes from competing in the countless number of beautiful, well organized, and occasionally lucrative unsanctioned events is going to backfire.

Read Trimble’s full letter here. Read my VeloNews.com story here.

Have your say in the comments.