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Disgraced former pro running out of options

Lance Armstrong is a step closer to testifying under oath about  doping after the Supreme Court of Texas on Friday denied his request to delay a deposition in the case against him brought by insurance company SCA Promotions.

SCA is suing for the return of $12 million it paid Armstrong in win bonuses for his victories in the Tour de France in 2002, 2003 and 2004. The arbitration panel that is hearing the case has set a date of June 12 for Armstrong to give evidence.

Armstrong was stripped of those victories and all others from 1998 onwards after the United States Anti-Doping Agency found in 2012 that he had been involved in a “systemic, sustained and highly professionalized team-run doping conspiracy.”

"Irreparable harm"

Armstrong has been fighting to avoid testifying under oath about that conspiracy. In his appeal to the Texas supreme court he claimed he was in danger of “irreparable harm from ongoing arbitration proceedings”.

The position of Armstrong’s legal team is that an agreement reached between him and SCA in 2006 is still valid. SCA had refused to pay Armstrong’s bonuses because persistent rumours that he had doped. Armstrong, who was still the official winner of the 2002-4 Tours at the time, sued and won.

But when USADA stripped Armstrong of his titles and he later confessed to doping on the Oprah Winfrey show, SCA brought a new case against him, contending that he had lied under oath when he previously claimed he had not doped.

Floyd Landis' suit

Armstrong is also the target of a federal whistleblower suit brought by former team-mate Floyd Landis and the US Department of Justice. It seems he is trying to avoid testifying under oath twice to avoid the risk of giving inconsistent testimony.

“SCA is pleased that it will get an opportunity to hold Mr. Armstrong accountable for his outrageous conduct during our prior legal proceedings,” Jeff Tillotson, SCA’s attorney, told Brent Schrotenboer of USA Today Sports. “Our position is simple. No one should be able to relentlessly perjure themselves and get away with it.”

Tillotson questioned Armstrong in the previous SCA case, which ended with an agreement that it could not be reopened. It’s that clause that Armstrong is trying to have enforced, even though the same arbitration panel that heard the previous case has decided that it does not apply.

"Just another day at the office"

Tillotson told The Dallas Morning News’s Robert Wilonsky that Armstrong’s only remaining option to block proceedings would be to go to the United States Supreme Court. However, he thinks that’s unlikely.

“SCA is just happy that this legal proceeding can move forward toward a conclusion,” said Tillotson. “SCA feels it’s entitled to any money it paid Mr. Armstrong and any money it spent fighting to recover it. That’s the goal, and the quicker we get to the goal the happier the client will be. It’s unfortunate he’s settled many of his legal battles but not this one, since this was the most egregious. That’s disappointing and frustrating to the client.

“For me, personally, it’s just another day at the office — though it’s not every day you you end up redeposing Lance Armstrong,” he said. “I am looking forward to getting the evidence.”

Our official grumpy Northerner, John has been riding bikes for over 30 years since discovering as an uncoordinated teen that a sport could be fun if it didn't require you to catch a ball or get in the way of a hulking prop forward.

Road touring was followed by mountain biking and a career racing in the mud that was as brief as it was unsuccessful.

Somewhere along the line came the discovery that he could string a few words together, followed by the even more remarkable discovery that people were mug enough to pay for this rather than expecting him to do an honest day's work. He's pretty certain he's worked for even more bike publications than Mat Brett.

The inevitable 30-something MAMIL transition saw him shift to skinny tyres and these days he lives in Cambridge where the lack of hills is more than made up for by the headwinds.

6 comments

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levermonkey [663 posts] 2 years ago
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Please! Please! Please!

Until Armstrong is either in a dark cellar being questioned by a couple of large humourless gentlemen with a cattle-prod, or, he is in the witness-box of a court of law under oath then THIS IS NOT NEWS! So please stop treating it as such.

I am not interested in his stalling, prevaricating or evasion from giving evidence. I want the bastard nailed to the floor with the full glare of publicity on him.

Thank you.

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meanie [1 post] 2 years ago
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Technically it is news. The only dark cellar he will see is his wine cellar. Whatever you think of him and however much people find what he did totally abhorrent, he still became one of the most famous cyclists ever, right or wrong. As such, news will be written about him whether you like it or not!

All these comments on any articles on armstrong about not writing about him is utter nonsense.

Get over it!

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MKultra [396 posts] 2 years ago
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After Marion Jones was very publicly jailed for cheating I would not kid yourself that Armstrong will remain free. The same prosecutors that nailed Jones were after Landis, they have shifted their attention to Armstrong now as that is who they wanted all along. It's not Britain and the judicial system is no where near as impartial/fair, if prosecutors want to get someone they have very sweeping powers to get at them and threaten them into testifying, this also includes fellow travelers they want to use as witnesses.

The US court system runs on coercion and entrapment, if they are determined enough they will get you, if they can't get at you they will go after people you know in the hope they turn on you.

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fatty [77 posts] 2 years ago
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This is news levermonkey. It's more pertinent to the sport of cycling than whether some kind of handlebar phone mount gets 8 or 9 out of 10... This is another chance (previous ones having failed, e.g. Festina affair) to try and clean up professional sport by holding people accountable for their 'unethical' actions.

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levermonkey [663 posts] 2 years ago
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fatty wrote:

This is news levermonkey. It's more pertinent to the sport of cycling than whether some kind of handlebar phone mount gets 8 or 9 out of 10... This is another chance (previous ones having failed, e.g. Festina affair) to try and clean up professional sport by holding people accountable for their 'unethical' actions.

Look Lets get this straight. I want him in court, I want him in court facing charges that have not been plea-bargained down to some misdemeanour, I want him to be forced to make a full disclosure. To hear of his latest wriggling just frustrates and annoys me.

But lets not kid ourselves that this will clean up the sport we all love. This sport will not be cleaned up by sending Armstrong to prison. The only way we will clean up our sport is from the grass-roots up not from the top down. There are too many vested interests and too much big money in our sport for it to be overhauled from the top down. How many new dawns have been promised by the powers that be and yet our sport still seems to be bobbing along in the sewer.

The UCI regard Tenerife, a place with scheduled airline flights and a modern infrastructure, as a place too remote to perform routine out of competition drug testing. Floyd Landis, et al, have probably made more money from books about their cheating than most professional cyclists see in a lifetime of honest endeavour.

One final point. Unless you are using a smart phone as a cycle computer leave the phone at home. The main joy of cycling is head-space, time to be 'out of the loop', to step off the merry-go-round, to be unavailable, just you and the road, you are not that important that someone MUST get hold of you.

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StantheVoice [94 posts] 2 years ago
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We're working hard right now on our new personalised website which only gives news that you alone want to see...... there'll be a news story on it soon....;-)