Lance Armstrong cheated his way to seven Tour de France wins and apologised, but the United States government, in an ongoing court case worth $100m, says that he is still lying.
The 44-year-old Texan is defending himself against the federal government, who is suing on the behalf of former team-mate Floyd Landis. Landis showed how taxpayers were cheated via the US Postal Service’s sponsorship of Armstrong’s team from 1996 to 2004.
>> Struggling to get to the shops? Try 6 issues of Cycling Weekly magazine for just £6 delivered to your door <<
In his defence, according to a USA Today article, Armstrong said that he is a changed man.
“I’m thankful and grateful that most of them… almost all of them have accepted the apology,” he said when questioned last by the US Justice Department. “So, no, I do not conduct myself that way anymore, but, you know, it took this to teach me that lesson.”
The government, however, gave evidence to show that Armstrong still conducts himself the same and that lessons were not learned.
It pointed to an incident last winter when Armstrong driving an SUV hit two parked cars and left the scene. He initially lied to police by letting girlfriend Anna Hansen take the blame. In an official report, Hansen told police she had driven home from a party because “Lance had a little bit to drink so I was driving.”
“His credibility is a central issue,” the government said in court documents filed on Monday.
“The events surrounding Armstrong’s decision to suborn false statements to the Aspen Police undermine his claim that his propensity for deception was limited in time to the period before his doping was exposed.”
A clip from the Lance Armstrong biopic, The Program
The US Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) showed in its 2012 ruling that Armstrong doped with testosterone, EPO and blood transfusions – and lied and asked others to lie for him – for the majority of his career. It stripped him of his wins, including the Tour.
Armstrong admitted he doped in a televised interview with Oprah Winfrey in January 2013 and said so at other times since. The USADA ruling led to Armstrong losing millions in lawsuits, including the £6.5m SCA Promotions case.
“I felt an obligation to protect the team and my foundation and the sport of cycling and my family, etc., etc., etc,” Armstrong said.
“But…to take those steps and actions even farther, to – you know , to criticise people, to call people liars, to attack people, quote, unquote, was totally dishonourable. And I have done everything I can do to make it right with those people, and that means travelling the world and sitting with them and meeting with them and apologising to them.”
According to the government, however, Armstrong is the same as the days when he ruled cycling.