Lance Armstrong has revealed he will record his podcast show at the Giro d’Italia in Israel and at the Tour of California, after his $5 million legal settlement with the United States government and Floyd Landis meant that he will no longer spend May embattled in a trial in Washington DC.
Last week, Armstrong agreed to pay $5 million to the United States government and $1.65 million to Landis to cover his legal fees and expenses after Landis filed his 'whistleblower' suit under the False Claims Act - which allows citizens to sue individuals for defrauding the government - for doping activities that took place on Armstrong's team when it was sponsored by the US Postal Service.
According to the agreement, the settlement "is neither an admission of liability by Armstrong nor a concession by the United States or Relator [Landis - ed.] that their respective claims are not well founded."
Armstrong posted a crooked arrow logo on his Instagram account on the day of the announcement of the settlement, with the word ‘Forward’ in capital letters. He suggested ending litigation means he 'got his life back'. However, he remains banned from sport for life after USADA stripped him of all results from August 1 1998, including his seven Tour de France victories, and the ban was ratified by the UCI.
"The most, most, most important thing is that this ends all litigation, hopefully for the rest of my life. I’ve dealt with litigation for 10 years and certainly a lot in the last five. This is it, this really bookends that part of it,” Armstrong said during his latest podcast.
"I knew in my own head and heart that we were done two weeks ago. But when it hit the press and the world knew and it let the air out of that balloon, it was a different feeling. I don’t know what it means but it felt different to me. It was super emotional."
Armstrong had risked losing up to 100 million dollars if he had been found guilty. He accepted that $5million was a "good resolution" but also joked that “there’s not a whole lot of money left".
"I’ve ended this really difficult period, but now I wouldn’t trade places with anyone on planet earth. That’s a serious thing to say, but I mean it," Armstrong said.
To Israel and California instead of Washington DC
Armstrong joked that he has an Airbnb apartment available to his podcast listeners in Washington DC for May and confirmed he plans to be in Israel for the Grande Partenza of the Giro d’Italia and then California.
Armstrong was unable to podcast as part of an official partnership with the Colorado Classic race last year due to risks that it would violate his life ban for doping. However, he still recorded his podcast from a local winery. He eventually decided not to attend a conference event at this year’s Tour of Flanders, citing family reasons, after UCI President David Lappartient had made it clear that the Texan was not welcome.
He is unlikely to attend the Giro d’Italia and Tour of California in an official capacity but confirmed he will be in Israel.
"We’re going to Israel to cover the Giro," he said. "The chance to go to a place like Israel to cover an iconic event like the Tour of Italy is insane. We know these events like the Tour de France start in Holland, Belgium or Germany, but to go that far from mainland Europe is pretty awesome and a pretty unique opportunity. So we’ll have three days, the prologue in Jerusalem, the stage to Tel Aviv, and stage 3 down south. It’s a pretty great opportunity."
After avoiding several weeks in a Washington DC court room, where details of his years of doping were likely to be laid bare, Armstrong also plans to focus on the women's three-day Tour of California that will be held between May 17-19.
"We now get to go to cover the Tour of California," he said. "We’ll be there daily talking about the Tour of California. We’ll talk heavily about the women’s race, the three-day event."
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