Endurance: Lance Armstrong

Armstrong testifies in SCA bonus case

June, 13, 2014
Jun 13
5:42
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Lance ArmstrongAP Images/Harpo StudiosMillions of dollars are at stake in the ongoing lawsuit against Lance Armstrong.
LOS ANGELES (AFP) – Lance Armstrong gave sworn testimony Thursday as part of a Texas firm’s effort to recoup millions of dollars it paid the disgraced American for what he later admitted were drug-fueled Tour de France victories.

Jeffrey Dorough, general counsel for Dallas-based SCA Promotions, told AFP that Armstrong had given a sworn deposition in the case in Austin, Texas, although he said a protective order had been issued that prevented him from discussing what the testimony was.

Armstrong’s attorney, Tim Herman, also declined when asked for comment by USA Today.

Armstrong has fought to block SCA’s bid to recover $12 million in costs and bonuses it paid him before his spectacular fall from grace.

He had no choice but to give the testimony, though, after the Texas State Supreme Court denied his motion for temporary relief in the case last month. Armstrong was stripped of his seven Tour de France titles for doping and handed a lifetime ban from the sport, eventually admitting last year that all seven triumphs were fueled by banned performance-enhancing drugs.

SCA withheld a $5 million bonus it was scheduled to pay after Armstrong’s sixth Tour de France win in 2004 because of doping allegations then circulating in Europe. Armstrong took SCA to court and won the case in arbitration.

But since his ban and admission of doping SCA has sought to recoup the money from Armstrong and the U.S. Postal Service cycling team’s parent company, Tailwind Sports, along with legal fees and interest.

Tillotson has said that Armstrong’s false testimony was too long ago for him to face perjury charges under the statute of limitations, but he said SCA Promotions wants Armstrong sanctioned for his lies by the same arbitration panel that handled the previous case.

“Our position is simple,” Tillotson told USA Today on May 30. “No one should be able to relentlessly perjure themselves and get away with it.”

In a separate fraud lawsuit filed by the federal government, Armstrong was scheduled for another deposition on June 23, USA Today reported. But the government recently said it would postpone that deposition and others it had scheduled for this month, including Armstrong's friend John Korioth, Armstrong publicist Mark Higgins, Armstrong's friend and former Oakley employee Stephanie McIlvain, and cycling coach Chris Carmichael.
AUSTIN, Texas -- A Texas appeals court has temporarily blocked an arbitration panel from reviewing $12 million in bonuses paid to Lance Armstrong by a company that wants its money back, stopping efforts to force him to give new sworn testimony about his doping past.

SCA Promotions has sought to reopen a 2006 settlement paid to Armstrong since his 2013 admission to using performance-enhancing drugs during his cycling career to win the Tour de France.

The arbitration panel that first approved the settlement agreed to reconsider the case, and a Dallas judge last week rejected Armstrong's attempts to stop it. The panel set a March 17 hearing and SCA's attorneys wanted to question Armstrong under oath on Thursday.

Armstrong's attorneys appealed to the Dallas-based Fifth Court of Appeals. Judge Kerry Fitzgerald ordered all proceedings stopped on Tuesday pending further review by the court later this month.

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Verbruggen denies Armstrong coverup

December, 18, 2013
12/18/13
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Former UCI president Hein Verbruggen ended his silence and shot back at claims leveled by banned cyclist Lance Armstrong that Verbruggen was part of a coverup.

Speaking to London daily The Telegraph, Verbruggen denied he helped cover up a positive test for cortisone by Armstrong during the 1999 Tour de France.

“I see it as if I’m part of a kind of industry now. It’s called the Lance Armstrong industry. People are making films now. It’s all part of the industry," Verbruggen said. "You have a lot of people in it with a vested interest, and this interest is clearly not to know the truth."

“Lance Armstrong has his own agenda and that is certainly his own personal interest, whether it is that he wants his sanctions to be reduced or whether he wants money. Usually, with Lance, there is always an interest also in money. My interest is the truth.”

Verbruggen, who left his position as UCI president in 2005, defended his record at the helm of the cycling federation. He denied corruption charges, but admitted his reputation is tainted.

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Verbruggen refutes Armstrong assertions

November, 21, 2013
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The former head of the UCI has refuted Lance Armstrong's claims that the sport's governing body helped him cover up a positive test for corticosteroids during the 1999 Tour de France, offering an explanation that amounted to this: The UCI didn't know a now-infamous prescription was backdated.

Corticosteroids contribute to recovery in endurance athletes and have been used in the peloton for at least two decades.

In a story published by The Daily Mail that centered around a meeting between Armstrong and former U.S. Postal Service soigneur Emma O'Reilly, Armstrong claimed it was former UCI president Hein Verbruggen's idea to cover up a positive test for cortisone, a banned steroid, with a Therapeutic Use Exemption, or TUE. Armstrong had previously said there were no true "deals" with the UCI, but has now changed course.

In an email to VeloNews, Verbruggen -- who stepped down from his UCI presidency in 2005 but remained on as "honorary president" -- said it was the French Ministry, not the UCI, that was responsible for conducting anti-doping controls at the Tour de France until 2006, and refuted Armstrong's assertion that it was Verbruggen who helped cover up a positive test.

"It must be very hard to cover up a positive case that was not a positive case," Verbruggen wrote. "[Until] 2006 it was the French Ministry that was responsible for anti-doping in France with the UCI as kind of an observer. It was the Ministry that decided that [Armstrong] was not positive since they accepted his explanation (ointment). Conclusion: [the] story about cover-up is nonsense."

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JOHANNESBURG (AFP) -- International cycling's truth commission should be up and running early next year, UCI president Brian Cookson said Wednesday. Cookson and World Anti-Doping Agency chief John Fahey reached agreement in Johannesburg on principles to guide the inquiry into doping in cycling.

"I'm hoping to make an announcement in a couple of weeks and I'm hoping that the whole thing will be up and running early in the new year," said Cookson, the new president of cycling's world governing body.

Cookson, who ousted former UCI head Pat McQuaid in an election in September, spoke on the sidelines of the World Conference on Doping in Sports, where he hoped to iron out final arrangements with the global anti-doping body WADA about the commission of inquiry.

"We are very anxious that we agree those terms and conditions with WADA. We're pretty close to agreement now," he said. "But I'm very anxious that we do all of this sooner rather than later."

The UCI stripped American Lance Armstrong of his seven Tour de France titles -- won between 1999 and 2005 -- last October. Armstrong has said he would cooperate with an inquiry so long as he's treated the same as his fellow drug cheats.

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FLORENCE, Italy -- With the shadow of the Lance Armstrong doping affair still hanging over cycling, British challenger Brian Cookson called Friday's UCI presidential election a "crossroads moment" for the sport.

The president of British Cycling also said that the "shennanigans" that have marred the sport under rival Pat McQuaid, who is seeking a third four-year term, are no longer acceptable.

"Friday is a crossroads moment," Cookson said Wednesday. "I want to make our sport one where people can admire their heroes without doubt."

The vote, held during the road world championships, will be a secret ballot of the 42 voters. A simple majority of 22 votes is required for victory.

The voting congress will be held in Florence's historic Palazzo Vecchio.

It remains unclear if McQuaid has a valid nomination. Federations in his home country, Ireland, and Switzerland, where he lives, withdrew support.

McQuaid claims valid nominations from Thailand and Morocco -- although those could be dependent on UCI's congress approving changes to the body's statutes before the presidential vote.

"Even if Mr. McQuaid falls foul of the nomination process, even if congress say that he doesn't have a valid nomination, I will still ask for a positive vote in favor of me by the congress," Cookson said. "I will not take on the job by default. I don't want a coronation, I want a proper election and I want to take on the role of UCI president with the full support of the congress."

McQuaid, however, maintains that he has support from "all five continents" in the congress, and he is relying on his years-old relationships with national federations to make his campaign legitimate.

"I'm not a magician myself, I'm trying to stick to the rules," Cookson said. "I'm trying to run a campaign with integrity and honesty. I think the UCI has seen too much of these shennanigans -- I hope that's a word that translates easily -- these kind of machinations in the future. I would want to run a UCI isn't marked by that type of thing."

Armstrong's revelation in January that he doped for most of his stellar career, in which he won the Tour de France a record seven times, further rocked a sport already in desperate need of credibility.

The UCI has been accused of covering up Armstrong's doping.

Still, there are worries that the election results could end up in the courts afterward, if questions over McQuaid's nomination persist.

"I think we've all seen far too many legal disputes and issues in our sport," Cookson said. "I would hope that after Friday we can put all of that to bed and move forward -- whoever wins."

And what about former UCI president and current honorary president Hein Verbruggen, who has also been tied to the sport's shadowy past?

"I want to make it absolutely clear that if I'm elected the UCI will be under new management," Cookson said. "I don't see any involvement of Mr. Verbruggen going forward. In fact, Mr. Verbruggen has publicly stated that he wants no more involvement with the UCI and administration of sport generally, and that's fine with me."

One of the chief points of Cookson's campaign is to establish an independent anti-doping body that is separate from the UCI.

"The first thing I will do Monday morning is put in a call to WADA to get our commission under way," he said. "Deeds speak louder than words. Let's get that independent anti-doping agency established and then people can start to believe and put trust in our sport again."

Cookson also wants to set up a so-called "truth and reconciliation" commission to encourage riders, team officials and others with knowledge of cycling's doping secrets to come forward. And he emphasized that the commission would not target only riders.

"The kind of doping that we've seen in recent generations has not been taking a pill behind the changing rooms or anything like that," he said. "This is organized, structured doping with medical procedures, so a lot of people have been involved in these conspiracies. I want to spread the net to include those people and find out all of the truth and not just part of the truth. We need to move forward from that and learn some lessons."

Cookson warned that many of the team managers currently in prominent positions within the sport who have been tied to or admitted doping during their careers as athletes could no longer have a place in the sport.

"One of the things we need to do is establish a test of what is a fit and proper person to be involved in the running of a team, whether that's a manager, director sportif, doctor, carer and so on," he said. "This is not just about riders. It's about the entourage as well."

-- Associated Press
Lance ArmstrongGeorge Burns/Oprah Winfrey Network/Getty ImagesLance Armstrong is facing questions about all aspects of his doping activities.
AUSTIN, Texas -- A Texas judge is pushing Lance Armstrong closer to his first sworn testimony on details of his performance-enhancing drug use, ordering the cyclist to answer questions about who knew what and when about his doping, including possibly his ex-wife and his attorneys.

Nebraska-based Acceptance Insurance Holding is seeking the information in its lawsuit to recover $3 million in bonuses it paid Armstrong from 1999 to 2001. A judge previously refused to dismiss the case.

Acceptance is trying to prove a yearslong conspiracy and cover-up by Armstrong to commit fraud. It wants to know when several of Armstrong's personal and business associates -- including ex-wife Kristin Armstrong, team officials, the cyclist's lawyers and International Cycling Union president Pat McQuaid -- first learned of his doping.

Lance Armstrong's attorneys objected to those demands in court documents, arguing the former cyclist already has acknowledged cheating and that Acceptance is engaged in a "harassing, malicious ... fishing expedition" intended to "make a spectacle of Armstrong's doping."

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Lance ArmstrongFranck Fife/AFP/Getty ImagesJan Ullrich, left, believes all seven of Lance Armstrong's Tour de France wins should be reinstated.
BERLIN -- Lance Armstrong should have his seven Tour de France victories reinstated because of the prevalence of doping at the time, former cyclist Jan Ullrich said.

"I would give Armstrong the Tour victories back. ... That's how it was back then," Ullrich told the current edition of Sport Bild magazine. "It doesn't help anyone to draw a line through the winners' list."

Ullrich, who won the Tour in 1997, finished second to Armstrong three times -- in 2000, 2001 and 2003 -- but the German declined to stake a claim for his former rival's stripped titles.

"I only want victories that I've experienced on the bike. I don't want to win anything at the green table," he said.

Armstrong, the dominant cyclist of his generation, acknowledged in January that he doped for all seven of his Tour wins from 1999-2005. He was subsequently stripped of the titles.

Ullrich admitted to Focus magazine in June that he received blood treatments from Spanish doctor Eufemiano Fuentes.

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Lance ArmstrongChris Graythen/Getty ImagesLawyers for Lance Armstrong argued the U.S. Postal Service got what it bargained for from him.
WASHINGTON -- Lance Armstrong is urging a federal judge to dismiss the Justice Department's False Claims Act lawsuit against him, arguing that the claims are barred by the statute of limitations.

In the filing Tuesday, lawyers for the disgraced cyclist also argue that the U.S. Postal Service, which sponsored Armstrong's team, got exactly what it bargained for -- that is, tens of millions of dollars' worth of publicity.

The Justice Department this year joined former Armstrong teammate Floyd Landis' whistle-blower lawsuit against Armstrong. The government claims that Armstrong violated his contract with the Postal Service and was "unjustly enriched" while cheating to win the Tour de France bicycle race.

In January, Armstrong admitted using performance-enhancing drugs after years of denials.

-- Associated Press
Pat McQuaidFABRICE COFFRINI/AFP/Getty ImagesUCI president Pat McQuaid doesn't believe the Lance Armstrong case will affect his re-election.
AIGLE, Switzerland -- Pat McQuaid insists the Lance Armstrong doping affair should not be an issue in his bid to remain president of cycling's governing body.

McQuaid faces British federation leader Brian Cookson in the Sept. 27 election. In a race that appears tight, McQuaid seeks a third four-year term in the vote that coincides with the road world championships in Florence, Italy.

The Armstrong case fueled claims the International Cycling Union protected Armstrong from doping allegations during his Tour de France wins from 1999 to 2005. McQuaid, who became UCI president in 2005 after Armstrong first retired, said Monday the American rider and "issues related to him" should not affect the vote.

"I don't think he should be a factor," McQuaid said in an interview with The Associated Press as he began laying out his campaign Monday. "This election should not be about what happened 10 years ago. This election should be about cycling today and cycling tomorrow."

McQuaid listed key pledges in a 20-page document, "A Bright Future for a Changed Sport." He aims to "preserve the new culture and era of clean cycling," promote women's cycling and continue developing the sport outside its traditional European base.

As an IOC member since 2010, McQuaid also suggests cycling needs to maintain a voice within Olympic decision-making, including new medal events at the Summer Games.

Cookson contends he has the support of cycling officials dissatisfied with how UCI dealt with allegations about Armstrong's doping, which was finally detailed in a report by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency last October.

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PORTO VECCHIO, Corsica -- The dirty past of the Tour de France came back on Friday to haunt the 100th edition of cycling's showcase race, with Lance Armstrong telling a newspaper he couldn't have won without doping and that he feels he is still the winner of the 1999-2005 races.

"It is fine to erase my name from the record book, but the Tour was held between 1999-2005, wasn't it? It was held and there was a winner. Who was he? No one has manifested to claim my jerseys," Armstong told French publication Le Monde.

Armstrong's comments to Le Monde were surprising on many levels, not least because of his long-antagonistic relationship with the respected French daily that first reported in 1999 that corticosteroids were found in the American's urine as he was riding to the first of his seven Tour wins. In response, Armstrong complained he was being persecuted by "vulture journalism, desperate journalism."

Now seemingly prepared to let bygones be bygones, Armstrong told Le Monde he still considers himself the record-holder for Tour victories, because the Tour declared no winner over those seven years after it stripped him of the titles for doping.

"We wish that there is no winner for this period," Tour director Christian Prudhomme said last year when making the announcement. "For us, very clearly, the titles should remain blank. Effectively, we wish for these years to remain without winners."

Armstrong also said his life has been ruined by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency investigation that exposed as lies his years of denials that he and his teammates doped. And Armstrong took another swipe at cycling's top administrators, darkly suggesting they could be brought down by other skeletons in the sport's closet.

The interview was the latest blast from cycling's doping-tainted recent history to rain on the 100th Tour.

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Lance ArmstrongAP Photo/Harpo Studios, Inc./George Burns)UCI president Pat McQuaid believes Lance Armstrong should come clean about his entire doping past.
ST. PETERSBURG, Russia -- Cycling federation President Pat McQuaid is waiting for a visit and an apology from Lance Armstrong.

McQuaid said Armstrong should travel to UCI headquarters in Switzerland to tell all about his doping history and offer to help clean up the sport.

"He should jump on his private plane, come to Switzerland and say, `What should I do?" McQuaid told reporters. "He still hasn't apologized to the sport of cycling. If he has information that is valuable to the sport he should come forward."

McQuaid said Armstrong should also meet with the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency and World Anti-Doping Agency to provide full details on how he cheated to win the Tour de France seven times. The American was stripped of all the titles last year after admitting to doping.

"Everyone accepts he has not come clean," McQuaid said. "He should sit down and work with us."

Hours later from Texas, Armstrong repeated a previous promise to speak to a "truth and reconciliation" commission as long as it addressed multiple generations in the sport and not just him and his former U.S. Postal Service team.

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Nike to end Livestrong deal

May, 28, 2013
5/28/13
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Nike is further disassociating from Lance Armstrong.

The world's largest shoe and apparel brand has informed the Livestrong Foundation, the charity that he helped start, that it will discontinue its line of Livestrong-branded products by the end of this year.

"Nike has made the decision to stop producing new Livestrong product after its Holiday 2013 line," Nike spokesman KeJuan Wilkins said in a statement. "We will continue to support the Livestrong Foundation by funding them directly as they continue their work serving and improving outcomes for people facing cancer."

Just last year, sources say Nike sold $150 million of Livestrong-branded products, its most ever. But industry insiders told ESPN.com that Nike, as well as Dick's Sporting Goods, which sold the most product at retail, were ready to give up the business.

Together with Nike, the Livestrong Foundation made more than 87 million of its Livestrong yellow rubber wristbands since May 2004. Nike raised more than $100 million for the foundation through sales of the $1 wristbands and a minimum guarantee and royalty payments made on the sale of Livestrong gear.

"The Livestrong Foundation is deeply grateful to Nike not only for the time and resources it invested in helping us improve the lives of people affected by cancer today, but also the creative drive it brought to our nine-year partnership," the foundation said in a statement released Tuesday.

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Lance ArmstrongAP Photo/Damian DovarganesWADA officials will meet in Russia to see if the UCI was complicit in Lance Armstrong's doping.
GENEVA -- Cycling federation president Pat McQuaid says an independent panel will examine the allegations that the UCI was complicit in Lance Armstrong's doping.

McQuaid tells The Associated Press that senior UCI and World Anti-Doping Agency officials will meet in Russia next week to discuss potential appointments to a three-member expert panel.

He says longstanding claims about the UCI and Armstrong's relationship "absolutely will be addressed," including alleged collusion over suspicious test results and cash donations.

McQuaid says he's "very sure that the audit will show that there's nothing untoward ever been done with Armstrong."

McQuaid says the UCI will "in the coming weeks" send the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency laboratory results it requested of samples given by Armstrong during his career.

-- Associated Press
Lance ArmstrongAP Photo/Thao NguyenLance Armstrong could face bankruptcy as the federal government seeks a minimum of $40 million.
AUSTIN, Texas -- Lance Armstrong is facing the federal government in a legal fight with tens of millions of dollars at stake, and a loss could bankrupt the cyclist who until last year ranked among the wealthiest and most popular athletes in the world.

Armstrong's best chance at protecting his personal fortune may rest in convincing a jury the government has already earned plenty from him, regardless of whether he cheated to win the Tour de France and lied to cover it up.

Armstrong is being sued by the Justice Department to recover at least the $40 million the U.S. Postal Service paid to sponsor his team, claiming Armstrong was "unjustly enriched" by using steroids and other drugs to win the Tour de France seven times.

Armstrong's legal team says the benefits the Postal Service reaped from putting its name on Armstrong's jersey was worth far more than that. The Postal Service commissioned four studies that said the contract was worth more than $100 million in worldwide exposure for the agency at a time it was trying to boost its brand.

Armstrong could still settle the case before going to trial, which likely would not start until 2014. Previous settlement talks broke down earlier this year.

If it goes to trial, experts say the government will likely have an easy time proving Armstrong committed fraud by violating his contract. But proving financial damages could be far more difficult and the stakes are huge because the False Claims Act allows the government to seek triple damages.

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