Lance Armstrong to face $100 million suit

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    Lance Armstrong is headed for court. (Image: Supplied)

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    A judge has cleared the way for a US government lawsuit seeking nearly $US100 ($A131 million) in damages from disgraced former professional cyclist Lance Armstrong to go to trial, according to court papers.

    The US Justice Department alleges Armstrong defrauded the government by accepting millions of dollars in sponsorship money from the US Postal Service (USPS) as he led the team to a string of Tour de France victories while doping.

    Armstrong was stripped of his seven Tour titles and banned for life from racing in 2012 by the US Anti-Doping Agency after he was accused of engineering one of the most sophisticated doping schemes in sports.

    Nicole Navas, a spokeswoman from the Department of Justice, declined to comment on the case.

    Eliot Peters, a lawyer for Armstrong, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

    Armstrong, who had long denied using performance-enhancing drugs (PEDs), admitted to doping in January 2013 during a much publicised interview with talk show host Oprah Winfrey.

    Armstrong’s former teammate, Floyd Landis, originally brought the lawsuit in 2010 under a federal law, the False Claims Act, that lets whistle-blowers pursue fraud cases on behalf of the government, and obtain rewards if successful.

    The Justice Department joined the case in February 2013. Armstrong, who contends that the USPS benefits outweighed the sponsorship costs, sought to have the case decided by summary judgment in April 2016.

    “Because the government has offered evidence that Armstrong withheld information about the team’s doping and use of PEDs and that the anti-doping provisions of the sponsorship agreements were material to USPS’s decision to continue the sponsorship and make payments under the agreements, the Court must deny Armstrong’s motion for summary judgment on this issue,” Judge Christopher Cooper of the US District Court for the District of Columbia wrote in a 37-page ruling on Monday.

    The USPS paid around $32.3 million ($42 million) to Armstrong’s cycling team, the now-defunct Tailwind Sports Corp, from 2000 to 2004, looking to capitalise on Armstrong’s Tour de France victories in 1999 and 1998, as well as his “compelling personal story,” Cooper said in his ruling. The government has calculated damages at three times this amount.

    Landis stands to gain up to 25 per cent of whatever sum the government recovers. Attorneys for Landis did not immediately respond to request for comment.

    © AAP 2018

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    The Crowd Says (3)

    • February 15th 2017 @ 2:37am
      Knoxy said | February 15th 2017 @ 2:37am | ! Report

      Good. I hope all the people he bullied and threatened over the years sue him for all he’s worth.

    • Roar Pro

      February 15th 2017 @ 3:46pm
      Rob Gremio said | February 15th 2017 @ 3:46pm | ! Report

      Fair enough, but I think it’s a bit rich for guys like Floyd Landis to be in line to get money as a “whistleblower”, especially given his role in cheating his way to the Tour de France yellow jersey back in the day. And was Armstrong really the mastermind? I don’t trust the testimony of dudes who “came clean” only with the incentive of being saved from prosecution themselves.

      How much did USPS actually know? I would suspect they probably had a fair idea of the culture of cycling at the time, the “Omerta” that existed and so on. Otherwise they were not doing their due diligence when looking to sponsor a team.

      I’m not defending Armstrong here, but this really does look like a witch hunt whereby everyone else who was involved gets off scott free, provided they implicate Armstrong. He was a bully, a grade A tosser, and we all know that. He deserves to be sued by those he hurt and intimidated.

      However, he was simply the most successful of the drug cheats, which doesn’t diminish his sins, but also doesn’t mean he should be the only one crucified to salve the souls of all the guilty of his era.

    • Roar Rookie

      March 27th 2017 @ 9:30am
      James Ditchfield said | March 27th 2017 @ 9:30am | ! Report

      As much as this would most likely destroy him personally and financially, I must say that he’s reaping what he sowed. It’d be more of a travesty if he did not face such tremendous penalties for his actions, other than the severe public backlash.

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