DISGRACED cyclist Lance Armstrong has asked a federal judge to dismiss the US government’s multi-million dollar lawsuit against him.
Armstrong, 41, won the Tour de France seven times between 1999 and 2005 while riding for the US Postal Service and Discovery Channel teams, but was stripped of his titles last year after a US Anti-Doping Agency report accused him of orchestrating a long-term programme of performance-enhancing drugs.
The US justice department is now seeking damages, accusing Armstrong of defrauding the public and breaching contract as the government was continually given assurances by the state-sponsored US Postal Service team officials that its riders were not doping.
However, Armstrong’s legal representatives argue that a blind eye was turned while French authorities expressed doping concerns and began a preliminary investigation in November 2000, and that too much time has lapsed, with a six-year statute of limitations in place.
Furthermore, the Texan’s team say the US government was in fact glad of the exposure it had while being associated with an annually successful team and have called for the lawsuit to be dismissed.
Their motion states: “The government admits that prior to November 2000, it was aware that ‘French authorities had begun a preliminary investigation into allegations that the cycling team used performance enhancing drugs’.
“The government was not merely aware of these allegations, ‘the Postal Service was concerned about them’.
“But, despite its knowledge and concern, the ‘official of the United States charged with responsibility to act’ did absolutely nothing.
“The government wanted a winner and all the publicity and acclaim that goes along with being his sponsor.
“The government’s claims are time-barred. Therefore, the government’s False Claims Act, fraud, and unjust enrichment claims should be dismissed with prejudice.”