Lance Armstrong Says US Government Overlooked Drug Allegations

Disgraced cyclist Lance Armstrong has called for a US Government lawsuit against him to be dismissed.

Armstrong, 41, is accused of defrauding the public by insisting he was not using performance-enhancing drugs during his seven Tour de France "wins".

The Texan was stripped of his successive titles in October last year by the International Cycling Union (UCI), which accepted the United States Anti-Doping Agency's (Usada) findings following an investigation into systematic doping.

Armstrong is one of sport's greatest cheats

However Armstrong has claimed the government overlooked allegations of drug-taking because his team were sponsored by US Postal, and asked an American judge to dismiss the case.

Armstrong's motion states:

"Although the government now pretends to be aggrieved by these allegations, its actions at the time are far more telling.

"Did it suspend the team pending an investigation? Did it refer the matter to its phalanx of lawyers and investigators at the Department of Justice for review? It did not.

"Rather than exercise its right to terminate the sponsorship agreement, it instead renewed its contract to sponsor the team.

"The rationale behind the government's decision is obvious. Armstrong had recently won the 2000 Tour de France. The government wanted a winner and all the publicity, exposure, and acclaim that goes along with being his sponsor. It got exactly what it bargained for."

The government filed its lawsuit in April, claiming Armstrong and his teammates from Tailwind Sports were paid $40m by the Postal Service from 1998 to 2004. Armstrong's salary during that time, excluding bonuses, was $17.9m, the complaint adds.

Armstrong is being sued under the False Claims Act, and the US Government could recoup up to three times the amount it lost as a result of the fraud. It also alleges breach of contract, unjust enrichment and fraud.

An attorney for Armstrong said at the time the complaint was opportunistic and insincere.

"The US Postal Service benefited tremendously from its sponsorship of the cycling team. The USPS was never the victim of fraud," said attorney Elliot Peters. "Lance Armstrong rode his heart out for the USPS team and gave the brand tremendous exposure during the sponsorship years."