Lance Armstrong settles lawsuit with U.S. government, former teammate

Lance Armstrong reached a $5 million settlement with the federal government on Thursday after years of legal battle. (REUTERS)
Lance Armstrong reached a $5 million settlement with the federal government on Thursday after years of legal battle. (REUTERS)

Lance Armstrong reached a $5 million settlement with the federal government on Thursday, the Associated Press reported, putting an end to a lawsuit that could have sought $100 million in damages from the cyclist.

The lawsuit was first filed by Armstrong’s former U.S. Postal Service teammate Floyd Landis — who is eligible for up to 25 percent of the settlement — in 2010. The United States government joined the lawsuit in 2013, after he confessed to using performance-enhancing drugs while winning a record seven Tour de France titles from 1999 to 2005 in a live television interview. It was Landis’ testimony, along with others from the team, that helped the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency uncover Armstrong’s drug use in 2012.

The U.S. Postal Service sponsored Armstrong’s team when he won his first Tour de France title in 1999, and re-signed for another five years to sponsor the team throughout the historic run.

“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,” Armstrong told the AP. “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.”

The lawsuit was set to go to trial next month in Washington after years of legal battle. From the Associated Press:

Armstrong had claimed he didn’t owe the Postal Service anything because the agency made far more off the sponsorship than it paid; Armstrong’s lawyers introduced internal studies for the agency that calculated benefits in media exposure topping $100 million. The government countered that Armstrong had been “unjustly enriched” through the sponsorship and that the negative fallout from the doping scandal tainted the agency’s reputation.

The lawsuit would have been the biggest against Armstrong, had it gone forward. The 46-year-old lost most of his major sponsors since admitting to his drug use, and has been forced to pay more than $20 million in combined damages.

Now, though, Armstrong said that he’s happy to have “made peace” with the government, and is just ready to finally move on after closing what is likely his last major legal issue spawning from his cycling downfall.

“I am glad to resolve this case and move forward with my life,” Armstrong said. “I’m looking forward to devoting myself to the many great things in my life — my five kids, my wife, my podcast, several exciting writing and film projects, my work as a cancer survivor, and my passion for sports and competition. There is a lot to look forward to.”

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