Cycling cheat Lance Armstrong is facing a growing number of legal cases against him after he sensationally admitted to years of doping in a ‘tell all’-style confessional interview with Oprah Winfrey last week.
Armstrong was last year named as the ringleader in what was described by the US Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) as the most “sophisticated and professional” doping conspiracy ever conducted in sport.
The USADA’s investigation uncovered witness testimony from several of Armstrong’s co-conspirators, including other professional cyclists, personal assistants and team members. The damning report revealed how Armstrong played the system almost perfectly, ordering others to cheat with him and ruthlessly casting aside those who chose not to participate in the scam.
Allegations of cheating dogged Armstrong throughout his career, but in a sport in which cheating was rife Armstrong was always able to deny the allegations because he was never caught. During his ‘illustrious’ career he notched up seven Tour de France victories either side of winning a successful battle against testicular cancer. He has since had all his cycling achievements rescinded.
To maintain the pretence, Armstrong was very active in litigating against anyone who accused him of cheating, famously winning a substantial settlement from The Sunday Times newspaper who accused him of involvement in doping almost ten years ago. It is thought the paper will now file a case in the US courts to recover the sum paid to Armstrong, plus interest and legal fees which could total over £1m.
Following his confession Armstrong is also facing legal claims from sponsors and insurance companies who all paid out millions during his career in bonuses. He may also face charges for perjury in the US, where is now known to have lied under oath.
After coming clean, Armstrong hopes to launch a legal fight of his own in order to overturn a lifetime ban from the USADA that prevents him from competing in any competitive sport again. Armstrong believes the punishment does not fit the crime; however, having spent years denying allegations of cheating, suing others who dared to call him out and denouncing those who accused him, the USADA believe that only a lifetime ban will suffice to bring this serial cheat to justice.
The damage Armstrong has done seems to extend beyond cycling. Tennis player Roger Federer said of the interview: “I guess all I needed to see was the first few minutes and then I knew what was the deal, and the rest I don’t really care,” he said.
Lance Armstrong’s TV confession revealed as simply first step in a cynical comeback campaign (The telegraph)
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