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Entries in Lance Armstrong (21)

Friday
Mar012013

Another Insurance Carrier Files Suit Against Lance Armstrong

Michael Stewart/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- A previously unknown insurance carrier has decided to file suit against Lance Armstrong for $3 million, plus damages, ABC News has learned.

The case was filed late Thursday in Austin, Texas, and will be assigned a case number on Friday.

The Nebraska company, Acceptance Insurance, covered the bonuses on Armstrong's Tour de France wins from 1999 to 2001.  Another insurance company, SCA, previously filed suit to recoup millions more in bonus money from later Tour wins.

Unlike SCA, Acceptance has never raised any red flags or gone public in any way over the years -- they have remained totally unknown.  Sources says Armstrong's interview with Oprah Winfrey changed that and opened the door for Acceptance to go after him as well.

What the cyclist did in the interview that made it possible to fight such an old matter was admitting "fraudulent concealment" -- that he threatened and bullied to such an extent that Acceptance could not have known the truth in a timely fashion.

Money aside, Acceptance plans to depose Armstrong.  He's also facing the prospect of being deposed in a slew of other pending cases, all of which he has tried and failed to settle out of court.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Friday
Feb222013

US Government Joins Civil Lawsuit Against Lance Armstrong

Michael Stewart/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- More legal trouble for Lance Armstrong. The U.S. Justice Department announced Friday that it is joining a civil whistle-blower lawsuit against the disgraced cyclist, accusing him of defrauding the U.S. Postal Service, which sponsored his cycling team.

Earlier this week, Armstrong turned down a deal with the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) to reduce his lifetime sporting ban, and he is already facing millions of dollars in other litigation. But this suit is expected to be a big one, potentially totaling up to $100 million.  The lawsuit claims the U.S. Postal Service was defrauded out of roughly $30 million paid to sponsor Armstrong's cycling team.  His former teammate, Floyd Landis first filed the suit now being joined by the government.

The filing also includes Armstrong's associates, Johan Bruyneel and Tailwind Sports. The Justice Department alleges, according to a release Friday, that Bruyneel and Tailwind, who managed and owned Armstrong's cycling team, "submitted or caused the submission of false claims to the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) in connection with its sponsorship of a professional bicycle racing team by regularly employing banned substances and methods to enhance their performance, in violation of the USPS sponsorship agreements."

In an interview with Oprah this past January, Armstrong already admitted to a career fueled by doping and deceit.  However, he declined to take an opportunity this week to come clean to the USADA, the agency that regulates sports doping, blocking his chances of competing professionally again.

According to Friday's release announcing the Justice Department's decision, U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia, Ronald C. Machen Jr., said Armstrong and his associates agreed to "play fair and abide by the rules -- including rules against doping."  

"The Postal Service has now seen its sponsorship unfairly associated with what has been described as 'the most sophisticated, professionalized, and successful doping program that sport has ever seen,'" Machen said.  "This lawsuit is designed to help the Postal Service recoup the tens of millions of dollars it paid out to the Tailwind cycling team based on years of broken promises."

The Justice Department will file its formal complaint within 60 days.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Friday
Feb082013

Company Wants Lance Armstrong to Return $12M in Prize Money

Morne de Klerk/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- As if Lance Armstrong didn't have enough to worry about, now he's being sued by a prize-insurance company for fraud.

Texas-based SCA Promotions Inc. hit the former cyclist with a lawsuit alleging that he and his agent tried to pull a fast one on the company that paid Armstrong $12 million for three of his seven Tour de France titles.

SCA cited Armstrong's "rampant drug use" as the reason it wants the money returned.  The company also alleged that Armstrong committed perjury in 2006 when he said "I race the bike straight up fair and square" during an arbitration hearing.

Last month in an interview with Oprah Winfrey, Armstrong admitted to using performance-enhancing drugs throughout his career, up through and including all his victories in the Tour de France, which have since been stripped by officials.

Meanwhile, in the face of a federal investigation for witness tampering, obstruction, and intimidation, Armstrong is now willing to testify to the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) about drug use by himself and others in an effort to avoid a permanent ban from all sports competition.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Friday
Jan182013

Lance Armstrong Confesses to Doping

Harpo Studios. Inc(NEW YORK) -- Lance Armstrong, formerly cycling's most decorated champion and considered one of America's greatest athletes, confessed to cheating for at least a decade, admitting on Thursday that he owed all seven of his Tour de France titles and the millions of dollars in endorsements that followed to his use of illicit performance-enhancing drugs.

After years of denying that he had taken banned drugs and received oxygen-boosting blood transfusions, and attacking his teammates and competitors who attempted to expose him, Armstrong came clean with Oprah Winfrey in an exclusive interview, admitting to using banned substances for years.

"I view this situation as one big lie that I repeated a lot of times," he said. "I know the truth. The truth isn't what was out there. The truth isn't what I said.

"I'm a flawed character, as I well know," Armstrong added. "All the fault and all the blame here falls on me."

In October, the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency issued a report in which 11 former Armstrong teammates exposed the system with which they and Armstrong received drugs with the knowledge of their coaches and help of team physicians.

The U.S. Postal Service Cycling Team "ran the most sophisticated, professionalized and successful doping program that sport has ever seen," USADA said in its report.

As a result of USADA's findings, Armstrong was stripped of his Tour de France titles. Soon, longtime sponsors including Nike began to abandon him, too.

Armstrong said he was driven to cheat by a "ruthless desire to win."

He told Winfrey that his competition "cocktail" consisted of EPO, blood transfusions and testosterone, and that he had previously used cortisone. He would not, however, give Winfrey the details of when, where and with whom he doped during seven winning Tours de France between 1999 and 2005.

He said he stopped doping following his 2005 Tour de France victory and did not use banned substances when he placed third in 2009 and entered the tour again in 2010.

"It was a mythic perfect story and it wasn't true," Armstrong said of his fairytale story of overcoming testicular cancer to become the most celebrated cyclist in history.

Armstrong would not name other members of his team who doped, but admitted that as the team's captain he set an example. He admitted he was "a bully" but said there "there was a never a directive" from him that his teammates had to use banned substances.

"At the time it did not feel wrong?" Winfrey asked.

"No," Armstrong said. "Scary."

"Did you feel bad about it?" she asked again.

"No," he said.

Armstrong said he thought taking the drugs was similar to filling his tires with air and bottle with water. He never thought of his actions as cheating, but "leveling the playing field" in a sport rife with doping.

 Armstrong passed more than 500 drug tests during his career. In some cases, however, he was found to have used substances, including EPO, years after he retired when new tests could find previously untraceable drugs.

However, he denied a claim by former teammate Floyd Landis that he organized a cover-up and paid off officials when, in 2001, he allegedly failed a test prior to the Tour de Suisse.

Armstrong used his wealth and influence to go after any of his teammates or crew members who attempted to expose him. He sued a team masseuse and as well former teammate Frankie Andreu and his wife, Betsy Andreu, who claimed to have overheard Armstrong telling a doctor that he used multiple banned substances.

Armstrong said he believed he would not have been caught had he not come out of retirement in 2008, just after former teammate Floyd Landis was caught doping and stripped of the 2006 Tour de France title.

He said, however, that his "fate was sealed" when George Hincapie, the only teammate with whom he competed in all seven winning Tours de France, was forced to testify against him to USADA.

Minutes after the interview concluded, Livestrong -- the cancer foundation that he founded -- released a statement expressing disappointment in their former leader.

"We at the LIVESTRONG Foundation are disappointed by the news that Lance Armstrong misled people during and after his cycling career, including us.  Earlier this week, Lance apologized to our staff and we accepted his apology in order to move on and chart a strong, independent course," the statement read.

"Our success has never been based on one person -- it's based on the patients and survivors we serve every day, who approach a cancer diagnosis with hope, courage and perseverance," it continued.

Also on Thursday, before the Winfrey interview aired, the International Olympic Committee stripped Armstrong of his 2000 Olympic bronze medal.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Jan152013

Oprah Winfrey Describes Intense Lance Armstrong Interview

Michael Stewart/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Oprah Winfrey said on Tuesday that Lance Armstrong came well prepared for their highly anticipated interview, although he "did not come clean in the manner [she] expected."

Winfrey, who discussed the interview on CBS This Morning Tuesday, said, "We were mesmerized and riveted by some of his answers.  I feel that he answered the questions in a way that he was ready. … He certainly had prepared himself for this moment. … He brought it.  He really did."

Armstrong had apologized to staffers at the Livestrong Foundation before the Monday interview with Winfrey, and reportedly admitted to them that he used performance-enhancing drugs throughout his storied career.

Armstrong also confessed to Winfrey to using the drugs, sources have told ABC News.  Winfrey said Tuesday morning that the entire interview, for which she had prepared 112 questions, was difficult.

"I would say there were a couple of times where he was emotional," she said.  "But that doesn't describe the intensity at times."

As for the cyclist's sense of remorse, Winfrey said that will be for viewers to decide.

"I would rather people make their own decisions about whether he was contrite or not," she said.

The interview will air on the OWN network for two nights, starting at 9 p.m. ET Thursday and continuing on Friday.

Meanwhile, the federal government is likely to join a whistle-blower lawsuit against Armstrong, originally filed by his former cycling teammate Floyd Landis, sources told ABC News.

The government is seeking to recoup millions of dollars from Armstrong after years of his denying that he used performance-enhancing drugs, the sources said.  The U.S. Postal Service, which is an independent agency of the federal government, was a longtime sponsor of Armstrong's racing career.

Sources tell ABC News the deadline for the government potentially joining in the matter was a likely motivation for Armstrong's interview with Winfrey.

The lawsuit remains sealed in federal court.

Armstrong is now talking with authorities about possibly paying back some of the Postal Service sponsorship money, a government source told ABC News on Monday.

The deadline for the department to join the case is Thursday, the same day Armstrong's much-anticipated interview with Winfrey is set to air.

Armstrong is also talking to authorities about confessing and naming names, giving up others involved in illegal doping.  This could result in a reduction of his lifetime ban, according to the source, if Armstrong provides substantial and meaningful information.

The interview at his home in Austin, Texas, was Armstrong's first since officials stripped him of his world cycling titles in response to doping allegations.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Jan152013

Lance Armstrong Admits Doping in Tour de France, Sources Say

Morne de Klerk/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Lance Armstrong on Monday admitted to Oprah Winfrey that he used performance-enhancing drugs to win the Tour de France, sources told ABC News.

A goverment source tells ABC News that Armstrong is now talking with authorities about paying back some of the US Postal Service money from sponsoring his team. He is also talking to authorities about confessing and naming names, giving up others involved in illegal doping. This could result in a reduction of his lifetime ban, according to the source, if Armstrong provides substantial and meaningful information.

Armstrong made the admission in what sources describe as an emotional interview with Winfrey to air on Oprah's Next Chapter on Jan. 17.

The 90-minute interview, taped in Austin, Texas, was Armstrong's first since officials stripped him of his world cycling titles in response to doping allegations.

Word of Armstrong's admission comes after a Livestrong official said that Armstrong apologized Monday to the foundation's staff ahead of his interview.

The disgraced cyclist gathered with about 100 Livestrong Foundation staffers at their Austin headquarters for a meeting that included social workers who deal directly with patients as part of the group's mission to support cancer victims.

Armstrong's "sincere and heartfelt apology" generated lots of tears, spokeswoman Katherine McLane said, adding that he "took responsibility" for the trouble he has caused the foundation.

McLane declined to say whether Armstrong's comments included an admission of doping, just that the cyclist wanted the staff to hear from him in person rather than rely on second-hand accounts.

Armstrong then took questions from the staff.

Armstrong's story has never changed. In front of cameras, microphones, fans, sponsors, cancer survivors -- even under oath -- Lance Armstrong hasn't just denied ever using performance-enhancing drugs, he has done so in an indignant, even threatening way.

Armstrong, 41, was stripped of his seven Tour de France titles and banned from the sport for life by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency in October 2012, after allegations that he benefited from years of systematic doping, using banned substances and receiving illicit blood transfusions.

"Lance Armstrong has no place in cycling and he deserves to be forgotten in cycling," Pat McQuaid, the president of the International Cycling Union, said at a news conference in Switzerland announcing the decision. "This is a landmark day for cycling."

The U.S. Anti-Doping Agency issued a 200-page report Oct. 10 after a widescale investigation into Armstrong's alleged use of performance-enhancing substances.

Armstrong won the Tour de France from 1999 to 2005.

According to a source, speaking to ABC News, a representative of Armstrong's once offered to make a donation estimated around $250,000 to the agency, as 60 Minutes Sports on Showtime first reported.

Lance Armstrong's attorney Tim Herman denied it. "No truth to that story," Herman said. "First Lance heard of it was today. He never made any such contribution or suggestion."

Armstrong, who himself recovered from testicular cancer, created the Lance Armstrong Foundation (now known as the Livestrong Foundation) to help people with cancer cope, as well as foster a community for cancer awareness. Armstrong resigned late last year as chairman of the Livestrong Foundation, which raised millions of dollars in the fight against cancer.

The New York Times reported Jan. 4 that Armstrong told associates he is considering admitting that he used banned performance-enhancing drugs and blood transfusions during his cycling career. The Times' unnamed sources said he would admit the information in order to restore his eligibility in athletic events such as triathlons and running events. Herman denied the claims were true.

Armstrong, who has spent so much energy bitterly fighting accusers and whistleblowers, has left many questioning whether Winfrey's televised absolution will be able to help his cause.

Winfrey tweeted the news to her followers last Tuesday night. "BREAKING NEWS: Looking forward to this conversation with @lancearmstrong #nextchapter"

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Jan092013

Lance Armstrong to Speak with Oprah Winfrey on Doping Scandal

Michael Stewart/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Oprah Winfrey will interview cyclist Lance Armstrong for Oprah's Next Chapter on Jan. 17, her network said on Tuesday.

The 90-minute interview at his home in Austin, Texas, will be his first since officials stripped him of his world cycling titles in response to doping allegations.

"Oprah Winfrey will speak exclusively with Lance Armstrong in his first no-holds-barred interview," a news release reads.  "Armstrong will address the alleged doping scandal, years of accusations of cheating, and charges of lying about the use of performance-enhancing drugs throughout his storied cycling career."

Oprah's Next Chapter at 9 p.m. is the primetime series on OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network.  The tell-all interview will also be simultaneously streamed live on Oprah.com.

Armstrong, 41, was stripped of his seven Tour de France titles and banned from the sport for life by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency in October 2012, after allegations that he benefited from years of systematic doping, used banned substances and received illicit blood transfusions.

"Lance Armstrong has no place in cycling and he deserves to be forgotten in cycling," Pat McQuaid, the president of the International Cycling Union, said at a news conference in Switzerland announcing the decision. "This is a landmark day for cycling."

The U.S. Anti-Doping Agency issued a 200-page report on Oct. 10 after a wide-scale investigation into Armstrong's alleged use of performance-enhancing substances.

Armstrong won the Tour de France from 1999 to 2005.

According to a report by 60 Minutes Sports on Showtime, the head of the doping agency said a representative of Armstrong's once offered to make a donation estimated around $250,000 to the agency.

Armstrong's attorney Tim Herman denied it.

"No truth to that story," Herman said.  "First Lance heard of it was today.  He never made any such contribution or suggestion."

Armstrong, who himself recovered from testicular cancer, created the Lance Armstrong Foundation (now known as the LIVESTRONG Foundation) to help people with cancer cope, as well as foster a community for cancer awareness.  Armstrong resigned late last year as chairman of the LIVESTRONG Foundation, which raised millions of dollars in the fight against cancer.

The New York Times reported on Jan. 4 that Armstrong told associates he is considering admitting that he used banned performance-enhancing drugs and blood transfusions during his cycling career.  The Times' unnamed sources said he would admit the information in order to restore his eligibility in athletic events such as triathlons and running events.  Herman denied the claims were true.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Monday
Oct222012

UCI Strips Lance Armstrong of Tour de France Titles, Bans Him from Sport

Morne de Klerk/Getty Images(GENEVA) -- The global governing body of cycling Monday said it will officially strip Lance Armstrong of his seven Tour de France titles and ban him from the sport for life, marking an epic downfall for the cyclist once lauded as the greatest of all time but now at the center of a doping scandal.

"Lance Armstrong has no place in cycling and he deserves to be forgotten in cycling," Pat McQuaid, the president of the International Cycling Union, known as UCI, said Monday at a news conference in Switzerland. "This is a landmark day for cycling."

The UCI's decision comes days after the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency banned Armstrong from the sport for life for alleged use of illegal performance-enhancing drugs. The USADA issued a 200-page report Oct. 10 after a wide-scale investigation into Armstrong's alleged use of performance-enhancing substances.

[ CLICK HERE TO SEE A PDF WITH UCI'S FULL DECISION ]

The agency said its investigators interviewed 26 people with direct knowledge of Armstrong's alleged doping, including 11 teammates, and collected 1,000 pages of evidence accusing him of cheating.

McQuaid accepted the USADA's sanctions and said he was "sickened" by the evidence in the report, pointing to testimony from one of Armstrong's former teammates David Zabriskie, in which he details how he was allegedly coercing into doping.

Armstrong tried to fight the USADA ban in court, but told the USADA in August that he wouldn't fight the doping charges against him. He has maintained he never cheated.

Armstrong made two appearances this weekend at the Livestrong Foundation's 15th anniversary charity gala, but did not concede much in the way of an explanation or apology for the alleged doping that cost him his medals and lucrative sponsors.

"People ask me a lot, 'How are you doing?' And I tell them, 'I've been better but I've also been worse,'" the cancer survivor said. "This mission is bigger than me. It's bigger than any individual."

Armstrong stepped down as the chairman of the Lance Armstrong Foundation, the cancer charity commonly known as Livestrong that he founded in 1997, a year after he was diagnosed with testicular cancer at age 25. He resigned last week to "spare the foundation any negative effects as a result of controversy."

Nike, Anheuser-Busch and Trek Bicycles are among the companies that severed ties with the cycling star last week in the wake of the scandal. Oakley sunglasses cut ties with Armstrong Monday after the UCI decision.

As Armstrong's sponsorships and reputation have fallen off a cliff, the silence surrounding his alleged doping methods over the years has begun to crack. In the USADA report, teammates describe years of systematic doping, using banned substances and receiving illicit blood transfusions.

A former competitor, Stephen Swart, testified in a deposition that Armstrong bribed him to throw a race with a $1 million prize. Swart said he was offered approximately $50,000 to allow Armstrong to win.

The USADA also accuses Armstrong of trying to intimidate witnesses.

Former Sports Illustrated reporter Selena Roberts said Armstrong and his inner circle tried to turn her into a villain with her bosses and smear her reputation personally when they heard she was investigation doping allegations.

"I don't really think there's any politician, celebrity or athlete who has really put together the machinery to suppress reporting about them like Lance Armstrong has," Roberts said.

Roberts said Armstrong's Livestrong Foundation was never far from the surface, something others have referred to as his "cancer shield."

"You're confronted with sort of the perception that if you're not pro-Lance, then, absurdly, you're pro-cancer," Roberts told ABC News.

Former Bicycling magazine editor and chief Steve Madden wrote about Armstrong's alleged influence in a blog post: "Armstrong exerted a Corleone-like influence in the cycling industry ... he could make an advertiser disappear from our pages."

McQuaid said the UCI will meet Friday to discuss the fate of Armstrong's 2000 Olympic bronze medal.

With the UCI decision, Armstrong might face multimillion-dollar lawsuits from ex-sponsors and might have to return about $4 million in cash prizes that he has won since 1998 as a seven-time Tour champion.

 

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Oct172012

Lance Armstrong Steps Down as Livestrong Chairman

Morne de Klerk/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Amid mounting evidence that he allegedly used performance-enhancing drugs, Lance Armstrong announced on Wednesday that he was stepping down as the chairman of Livestrong, his cancer-fighting foundation.

In a statement, the cyclist said he came to his decision "to spare the foundation any negative effects as a result of controversy surrounding my cycling career."

[ CLICK HERE TO READ ARMSTRONG'S FULL STATEMENT ]

Just last week, the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency released a report in which 11 of Armstrong's former teammates allege they helped him take performance enhancing substances.

The USADA, which banned Armstrong for life from professional competition and stripped him of his seven Tour de France titles, went on to say that Armstrong, his coaches and teammates "ran the most sophisticated, professionalized and successful doping program that sport has ever seen."

Livestrong Vice Chairman Jeff Garvey will take over as the foundation's chairman, Armstrong said.

Meanwhile, in other news, Nike announced on Wednesday that it has terminated its contracted with Armstrong.

In a statement, the sports apparel giant said: "Due to the seemingly insurmountable evidence that Lance Armstrong participated in doping and misled Nike for more than a decade, it is with great sadness that we have terminated our contract with him.  Nike does not condone the use of illegal performance enhancing drugs in any manner."

Nike added that it still plans to support Livestrong initiatives "created to unite, inspire and empower people affected by cancer."

One of Armstrong’s other partners, the apparel company Oakley, says that it will stand with Armstrong for now: “As we have stated in the past, Oakley does not approve in any way the use of illegal substances for enhancing performance in sports.  Our policy with our athletes is to support them until proven guilty by the highest governing body of sport or court of law.   We are reviewing the extensive report from the USADA, as well as our relationship with Lance, and will await final decision-making by the International Cycling Union."

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Oct102012

Lance Armstrong's Teammates Claim He Doped

Michael Stewart/Getty Images(COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo.) -- Eleven of Lance Armstrong's former teammates who helped cycling's greatest champion clinch seven victories at the Tour de France, say they also helped Armstrong use performance enhancing substances, according to a new report by the US U.S. Anti-Doping Agency.

According to the USADA, which banned Armstrong for life from professional competition and stripped him of his record-setting Tour titles, the athlete, his coaches and teammates "ran the most sophisticated, professionalized and successful doping program that sport has ever seen."

In a statement released Wednesday, the USADA said its investigators had interviewed 26 people with direct knowledge of Armstrong's doping and would release nearly 1,000 pages of evidence bolstering their claim that the cyclist used performance enhancing drugs.

In a career that spanned two decades, Armstrong underwent more than 500 tests for banned substances and never failed one, proof, he says, that USADA's findings amount to little more than a "witch hunt."

From 1999-2005, Armstrong cruised to victory at the Tour as the premiere rider on the U.S. Postal Service Team. The witnesses who lined up against him read like a Who's Who of American cycling, including Tyler Hamilton and Floyd Landis, champion riders who were earlier found to be doping.

Responding to the press release previewing USADA's report, Armstrong's attorney Tim Herman called it a "one-sided hatchet job -- a taxpayer funded tabloid piece rehashing old, disproved, unreliable allegations based largely on axe-grinders, serial perjurers, coerced testimony, sweetheart deals and threat-induced stories."

"Ignoring the 500-600 tests Lance Armstrong passed, ignoring all exculpatory evidence, and trying to justify the millions of dollars USADA has spent pursuing one, single athlete for years, USADA has continued its government-funded witch hunt of only Mr. Armstrong, a retired cyclist, in violation of its own rules and due process, in spite of USADA's lack of jurisdiction, in blatant violation of the statute of limitations, and without honoring … national and international rules," Herman said in a statement.

USADA will release the complete findings of their investigation Wednesday.

Many of the teammates who testified against Armstrong never tested positive for doping, but admit now that they used performance enhancing substances.

Armstrong tried to fight the USADA ban in court, but gave up and accepted the sanctions.

International cycling's governing body, the UCI, will soon review USADA findings and decide whether it will implement its own sanctions against Armstrong.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio







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