Monday 20 November 2017

Lance Armstrong accuses US government of turning a blind eye to doping

Lance Armstrong crosses the finish line during the 15th stage of the Tour de France in 2009
Lance Armstrong crosses the finish line during the 15th stage of the Tour de France in 2009

Lance Armstrong has claimed the United States government was happy to overlook drug-taking allegations because it was happy to take advantage of the publicity be associated with him.

The former US Postal rider, who admitted doping earlier this year, has been stripped of his seven Tour de France titles.

His legal team is now claiming the US government's federal lawsuit against him be dismissed because the case is too old.

The government's lawsuit argues Armstrong, 41, committed fraud by insisting he was not using drugs while riding for the publicly-funded US Postal Service team.

Armstrong's motion to a US court questions why the government did nothing to look into doping allegations.

It adds: "The government admits that prior to November 2000, it was aware that 'French authorities had begun a preliminary investigation into allegations that the [Postal Service] cycling team used performance enhancing drugs.

"The government was not merely aware of these allegations, 'the Postal Service was concerned about them'.

"But, despite its knowledge and concern, the 'official of the United States charged with responsibility to act' did absolutely nothing.

"In fact, the only thing the government did was enter into a new four-year sponsorship agreement entitling it to special perks in connection with the Tour de France and insert provisions giving it certain rights in the events of 'negative publicity associated with' a failed drug test.

"The government wanted a winner and all the publicity, exposure, and acclaim that goes along with being his sponsor."

Armstrong's legal team has now moved to have the lawsuit dismissed.

His motion adds: "The government's claims are time-barred. The face of the government's complaint makes clear that all its claims occurred prior to the limitations period. Therefore, the government's False Claims Act, fraud, and unjust enrichment claims should be dismissed with prejudice."

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