Lance Armstrong settles $100 million lawsuit with US government | Sports| German football and major international sports news | DW | 19.04.2018
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Lance Armstrong settles $100 million lawsuit with US government

The disgraced cyclist will pay $5 million to settle claims that he defrauded the US government when he cheated while riding under the Postal Service banner. His former teammate will pocket up to 25 percent of the amount.

Lance Armstrong has agreed to pay $5 million (€4 million) to settle a lawsuit with the US government that sought around $100 million in damages from the cyclist.

The lawsuit claimed that Armstrong, who was stripped of his record seven Tour de France victories after admitting he used performance-enhancing drugs, committed fraud against the US government when he cheated while the Postal Service spent millions sponsoring his team.

The settlement on Thursday came just weeks before the start of the trial on May 7 in Washington.

"I am glad to resolve this case and move forward with my life," Armstrong said in a statement.

"While I believe that their lawsuit against me was meritless and unfair, and while I am spending a lot of money to resolve it, I have since 2013 tried to take full responsibility for my mistakes and inappropriate conduct, and make amends wherever possible," he said.

"I rode my heart out for the Postal cycling team, and was always especially proud to wear the red, white and blue eagle on my chest when competing in the Tour de France. Those memories are very real and mean a lot to me," Armstrong said.

'No one is above the law'

The lawsuit was originally filed in 2010 by Armstrong's former Postal Service teammate Floyd Landis, who is eligible for up to 25 percent of the settlement.

The US government became a party in 2013 after Armstrong's televised confession to using steroids and other performance-enhancing drugs and methods.

"No one is above the law," Acting Assistant Attorney General for the Justice Department's Civil Division Chad Readler said in a statement.

"A competitor who intentionally uses illegal performing-enhancing drugs (PEDs) not only deceives fellow competitors and fans, but also sponsors who help make sporting competitions possible. This settlement demonstrates that those who cheat the government will be held accountable."

Fall from grace

Armstrong recovered from cancer to win cycling's most prestigious race, the Tour de France, a record seven consecutive times between 1999 and 2005.

His battle with cancer and his sporting achievements turned Armstrong into an international celebrity and brought global attention to his Lance Armstrong Foundation cancer charity.

The foundation removed Armstrong from its board and renamed itself Livestrong after the cyclist's shocking confession.

Once Armstrong's cheating was uncovered, Landis, himself a former doping cheat who was stripped of his 2006 Tour de France title, sued Armstrong for cheating the Postal Service that spent millions sponsoring his team.

Armstrong had claimed he didn't owe the Postal Service anything because the agency made far more off the sponsorship than it paid.

ap/rc (AP, Reuters, AFP)

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