Lance Armstrong faces another blow as the US government is suing him for up to $95million (£59m). According to NBC news, the Justice Department joined a whistle-blower lawsuit that Armstrong’s former US Postal team-mate Floyd Landis filed in 2010.

The Justice Department alerted the federal government today, according to the article, that it joined the claim filed by Armstrong’s former right-hand man. Landis rode side by side with Armstrong from 2002 to 2004, helped him win the Tour de France three times and became his most trusted domestique.

Landis also helped topple the king.

The American from Pennsylvania filed the lawsuit on behalf of the government after seeing first-hand the depth of Armstrong’s cheating.

An extract of the 33-page lawsuit read, “Mr Landis personally witnessed defendant Armstrong’s use of prohibited substances and prohibited methods … [and] has direct knowledge … that Armstrong’s prior victories on behalf of the USPS Team were accomplished while doping as well.”

The US Postal Service sponsored Armstrong’s team from 1996 to 2004. Given Landis’ claims – much of which the US Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) detailed and part of which Armstrong admitted – Armstrong essentially defrauded the government and its tax payers.

“The defendants submitted … claims for payment to the USPS with knowledge that the USPS team was engaged in doping and other wrongful conduct in violation of the terms of the sponsorship contracts,” reads part of the lawsuit. “Although defendants knew they had obtained payments to which they were not entitled, defendants failed to return the funds to the USPS.”

The anti-doping agency found Armstrong guilty on August 24 and stripped his results, including all seven Tour de France wins. Last month, Armstrong admitted to doping his way through 2005 in a TV interview with Oprah Winfrey.

He maintains he road cleanly during his comeback, 2009 to 2011, which is disputed by experts and the anti-doping agency.

The whistle blower lawsuit

Under the False Claims Act, a whistle blower lawsuit allows citizens to sue on behalf of the government. If successful, penalties can range up to three-times the amount defrauded.

US Postal Service gave $31.9m to the team from 2001 to 2004, according to an ESPN article last year. Armstrong and the team’s management company, Tailwind Sports are facing a $95m battle.

The lawsuit, in addition to Armstrong and Tailwind Sports, names several other defendants: Montgomery Sports, Capital Sports & Entertainment, Thomas Weisel, Johan Bruyneel, Bill Stapleton and Bart Knaggs.

Landis dealt with his share of problems, going from Tour winner to dope cheat in just days in 2006. He now plays a key part in Armstrong’s fall. He is all smiles, too, as the Act entitles Landis to 15 to 30 per cent of the eventual pie.

  • Ulysses Lyles

    I cant help but admire Lance Armstrong. I would buy his autobiography İF HE PASSED A LIE DETECTOR TEST ON ITS CONTENT BEFORE PUBLICATION. And I would pay to go to the movie. These should be worth a couple hundred million if does it while he’s hot. The truth would set him free.
    Certainly there are cyclists competing at top level who do not take PEDs. What about those honest competitors who went out there riding with Lance ,knowing that he had the advantage as the false hero who couldnt be touched….the sport didnt want to kill the golden goose.They were being bullied in a sport they loved and riding,practically defeated before they set out , up against a super-hero legend nobody wanted to see beaten . But they couldnt say too much because too many people were making money off Lance and,of course, Lance or somebody making money off Lance might have sued them and nobody would care. Part of Armstrong is a bully!!! An outrageous little bully!!! He deserves a proper smacking in or out of the ring.
    We all know and admire Lance for his real athleticism, guts, daring bluffs, the master doper,his contributions to humanity ,etc. No matter what hes done ,the mix has made him a legend,but hes still a criminal.
    Lets not confuse the issues:he should pay for his crimes. Humanity is one thing.The money is another thing. That he has done more than anybody to ruin the sport is still another thing. Other people have already paid for that. Now its his turn. DONT CRY FOR LANCE ARMSTRONG!!!

  • j vaughan, Grass Valley, Ca

    If this lawsuit results in a settlement or judgment against Armstrong, it would only be fair that one factor be taken into consideration in the determination of the judgment against Armstrong.

    The US Postal Service, during the time of its sponsorship of the Armstrong team, received considerable positive publicity from its sponsorship. The court should place a value upon this publicity and reduce the amount of the judgment by that value.

    In view of the fact that the USPS continued its sponsorship from year to year, one could only conclude that it was receiving quid pro quo in publicity value from its sponsorship investment, and that any judgment against Armstrong should be minimal.

    Will there be no end to this guy Armstrong’s troubles? Disabled by the toxic chemo drugs he took to fight cancer, he made the decision to level the playing field by taking performance enhancing drugs that all the leading bicyclists were taking. If he had, instead, gone public, he would’ve been physically driven out of bicycling, or into a ditch on every race. As for lying, what choice did he have? Come on folks, despite it all Lance was fantastic.

    If there’s a life after death, I’m sure Eddie Merxx is up there, looking down upon Lance, smiling, and saying, “cheer up buddy, you still were the greatest.”

    As for Landis, my humble opinion is that he’s a scumbag like Judas of the New Testament. Did this creep ever do anything that approaches the accomplishments of Armstrong in his creation of , and donations to, the Live Strong Foundation? Has hever done anything for anybody other than for himself?

  • dai bananas brother

    Dai’s missus was cleaning out some old DVD’s and she came across one which showed the 1996 Tde F. The one where indurain finally cracked, anyway there’s a bit where a rider goes right over the edge going down the Roseland. They spend a lot of effort id dragging him back up…it turns out to be Johan Bruyneel. Dai’s missus couldn’t help but say “If only they’d left him down there, half of this Armstrong business might never have happened”.

  • BeSpoke

    Title of the column suggests that Armstrong is being sued for the full amount but the end of the article states “in addition to Armstrong and Tailwind Sports, names several other defendants: Montgomery Sports, Capital Sports & Entertainment, Thomas Weisel, Johan Bruyneel, Bill Stapleton and Bart Knaggs.”

    Presumaly then, Armstrong is only liable for an amount commensurate with his share in Tailwind which in turn would seem to be further diluted by the involvement of other parties named in the suit.
    I’m not a betting man but I wouldn’t be surprised if Armstrongs liability is less than 10 million. Enough to hurt but won’t make a big difference to his lifestyle