Armstrong fearing financial ruin from federal whistleblower lawsuit

Expect to see Lance Armstrong in suit and tie this fall if his case goes to arbitration

Expect to see Lance Armstrong in suit and tie this fall if his case goes to arbitration (Image credit: AFP Photo)

A whistleblower lawsuit filed by Floyd Landis in 2010, and joined by the US Justice Department in 2013, to be heard by a jury later this year in the United States could see Lance Armstrong lose US$100 million with his former teammate receiving one third of the damages for instigating the case. In an interview with AFP journalists at his house in Aspen, Armstrong explained he will face financial turmoil should he lose the case.

"I mean, the whistleblower case is a $100 million case. If I lost, we would not be sitting at this table anymore," Armstrong said according to AFP. "We wouldn't be sitting in this home anymore. We wouldn't be sitting in any home. I don't have $100 million.

"We like our case is all I will say. I'm not going to jinx myself. But I don't know. How do you guys see it? Say the jury says: 'Pay up $100 million.' Floyd Landis gets $33 million. Is everybody at this jury happy with that? I would think what everybody thinks — there's no logic to that."

The suit is aimed at recouping the sponsorship funds provided by the US Postal Service, which supported the team from 1996-2004, in light of the US Anti-Doping Agency's lifetime ban of Lance Armstrong for doping. Having initially denied the use of performance enhancing drugs [PEDs] during his career, including the 2006 Tour de France which was stripped of, since 2010 Landis has publicly spoken of his PED use.

In February, Armstrong and former US Postal Service team owners Tailwind Sports were ordered to pay $10 million to SCA Promotions, the Texas firm that underwrote a $5 million bonus awarded after his 2004 Tour de France victory.

While apologising for certain behaviour during his professional career, Armstrong admitted in the interview with the AFP journalists he was "a complete dick for a long time".

"I'm not going to be sorry for certain things," Armstrong said. "I'm going to be sorry for that person who was a believer, who was a fan, who supported me, who defended me, and ended up looking like a fool. I need to really be contrite and sorry about that. And I am. I'm more worried about Mary-Jane in Ohio, and Doug in Pennsylvania, or Liam in Birmingham, or wherever.

"Listen, if I could walk the world and face-to-face apologize, I would."

Armstrong admitted to doping throughout his career in a televised interview with Oprah in January 2013, claiming that he lost $75 million of sponsorship and endorsement deals on the day as a result.

The USADA CEO Travis Tygart had repeatedly offered Armstrong opportunities to reduce his life ban from the sport in exchange for information on how the former seven-time winner of the Tour de France was able to use PED's throughout his career but Armstrong stated he has "nothing new" for the head of the federal anti-doping agency.

"At this point, after a federal investigation, a criminal investigation, a civil investigation, a federal agency, the threat of perjury and jail, an anti-doping agency threatening lifetime bans, books...We have got it all. Trust me, it's all there," Armstrong added.

Armstrong added that he hoped the recent CIRC report into doping in the sport would facilitate a mature conversation on how to move the sport forward.

"What I want, and I had hoped the recent CIRC report would achieve this – but what I hoped that would achieve was that it would almost resemble some sort of adult conversation where we all just go: 'All right. Stop. This is really what happened. And this is who was involved and this is the line we are going to draw in the sand and this is where we are going to move forward.' But that didn't happen," he said.

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