Lance Armstrong will face trial this November in a $100 million lawsuit brought by the U.S. Justice Department. The U.S. government will argue that Armstrong owes the U.S. Postal Service for the millions it invested in the cyclist. It’s interesting to note that while Armstrong himself was complicit in using performance enhancing drugs and doping, he wasn’t the only member of the team involved, yet the lawsuit targets him alone.
According to USA Today, attorneys for the US Department of Justice have filed documents explaining the decision which largely rests on Armstrong’s role as ringleader of the USPS team.
“Armstrong was unique,” the documents obtained by USA Today explain.
“He was by far the highest paid rider. For example, in 2001, he was paid $4 million, while some other riders were paid between $30,000 and $37,000 …. Propelling Armstrong to win the Tour de France each year was the team’s singular focus. He wielded an ‘iron fist’ and, together with the manager Johan Bruyneel, ran the team as a ‘dictatorship.'”
The allegations continue: “He monitored his teammates’ use of banned substances, and, on at least one occasion, threatened to remove a rider if he did not use PEDs to prepare for races. He used in-race drug couriers, charted private jets to undertake blood extractions, and arranged cross-border transportation of extracted blood.”
No surprises there if you’ve followed the Armstrong scandal over the years, especially so if you’ve read Tyler Hamilton’s The Secret Race.
For a long time now Armstrong and his defenders have built a foundation for their arguments by painting Armstrong and his cheating as normal, nothing more than keeping up with the competition. So, it’s interesting to see the legal case against him be built on the exact opposite being true.
The suit will be heard by US District Judge Christopher Cooper in Washington, DC, on November 6.