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80-page brief filed by former Tour de France champion's legal team failed to meet rules on brevity and relevance of content...

A judge in Austin, Texas, yesterday afternoon threw out a lawsuit filed earlier in the day by Lance Armstrong in which the seven-time Tour de France champion sought a temporary restraining order to prevent the US Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) from pressing ahead with charges against him based on its accusation that the former US Postal Service rider and others of having engaged in “a massive doping conspiracy.”

Armstrong’s lawsuit had sought to prevent USADA from being able to enforce a deadline of this Saturday, 14 July, requiring him to either accept the penalty that it proposes be imposed on him, namely being banned from sporting competition for life and being stripped of the seven Tour de France titles he won between 1999 and 2005, or agree to contest the charges he faces through an arbitration process.

In his filing, Armstrong claimed that the process was “rigged to ensure that it [USADA] cannot lose,” and insisted that the agency and its chief executive, Travis Tygart, are acting unlawfully in targeting him. 

Dismissing Armstrong’s request, which was contained in a lengthy brief submitted to the court, US District Court Judge Sam Sparks told the retired cyclist that the filing did not conform to court rules that required a brief summary of pleadings to be given, inviting his legal team to resubmit its brief within 20 days but ordering it to “omit any improper argument, rhetoric, or irrelevant material,” reports the Washington Post.

In a stinging criticism of the brief as it was originally filed, the judge wrote: “Armstrong’s complaint is far from short, spanning eighty pages and containing 261 numbered paragraphs, many of which have multiple subparts.

“Worse, the bulk of the paragraphs contain ‘allegations’ that are wholly irrelevant to Armstrong’s claims — and which, the Court must presume, were included solely to increase media coverage of the case, and to incite public opinion against the Defendants.”

Tim Herman, an Austin-based lawyer acting for Armstrong, confirmed to the Washington Post that the lawsuit would be resubmitted later this week, saying: “We will re-file in a format that conforms to what Judge Sparks wants. Obviously, I would have preferred not to have the order — I’d be lying if I said otherwise — but Judge Sparks is very straightforward, to say the least. When he speaks, I listen.”

The Washington Post cited one lawyer experienced with anti-doping cases, Chicago-based John P. Collins, as describing the ruling as “not a positive sign for Lance.”

Collins said: “I agree with the judge: This was written like a press release, like a novel. That’s a big slap at [Armstrong]. I think the judge said to him, why did you make me spend my entire day reading 80 pages? This judge in West Texas is probably saying, ‘I am not trying this case in the media. I don’t need an O.J. [Simpson] case.’”

In a press release following the filing of the lawsuit by Armstrong’s lawyers, USADA issued a statement which read: “Like previous lawsuits aimed at concealing the truth, this lawsuit is without merit and we are confident the courts will continue to uphold the established rules which provide full constitutional due process and are designed to protect the rights of clean athletes and the integrity of sport.”

Any second filing by Armstrong’s legal team will have to be much more tightly worded and focused on the court’s requirements than the document filed today if the 40-year-old is to win his fight to avoid an arbitration hearing, which would have to be held by November this year.

If granted an injunction against USADA, the former cyclist, who is accused alongside his former manager at several teams, Johan Bruyneel, as well as the Italian sports doctor Michele Ferrari, among others, would no doubt become engaged in a lengthy legal battle with USADA – but one that, given the agency’s limited resources, it would struggle to sustain for long, according to the newspaper.

Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.

14 comments

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6654henry [56 posts] 3 years ago
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I think him being excluded from competition and being stripped of titles is a very positive thing, in short term it may damage the image of cycling but shows you CANNOT get away with it.

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fxceltic [38 posts] 3 years ago
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6654henry wrote:

I think him being excluded from competition and being stripped of titles is a very positive thing, in short term it may damage the image of cycling but shows you CANNOT get away with it.

assuming he is guilty. He probably is, but I must also confess to having some misgivings over the nature of what is happening, it is extremely agressive from USADA (and Lance, obviously) and it does have the feel of something where the result is already predetermined, which surely it shouldnt necessarily be?

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bikeandy61 [527 posts] 3 years ago
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What a sad state of affairs this all is. I have to say I do wonder why USADA are going after LA so strongly. However as any who has followed of LA's career will know he has always been single minded and ruthless. One of the tools he has used for his victories is anger and holding grudges against people and organisations. The trouble with using this model is that in doing so you are likely to alienate a lot of people and maybe some of those work on the same principle. Storing up the slights as LA did with Cofidis over the whole dismissal when he was ill.

I can only assume he has crossed swords with just too many opponents in the past and now they are lining up to knock him down.

Sadly none of this seems to really have anything to do with the core issue, performance manipulation.

I honestly don't think it is good for the sport. I can't even take any satisfaction in thinking that the rest of world will see cycling (once again) tidying up it's dirty little house.

To go back to my start. A very VERY sad state of affairs.

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festival [105 posts] 3 years ago
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What a sad state of affairs this all is. I have to say I do wonder why USADA are going after LA so strongly. However as any who has followed of LA's career will know he has always been single minded and ruthless. One of the tools he has used for his victories is anger and holding grudges against people and organisations. The trouble with using this model is that in doing so you are likely to alienate a lot of people and maybe some of those work on the same principle. Storing up the slights as LA did with Cofidis over the whole dismissal when he was ill.

I can only assume he has crossed swords with just too many opponents in the past and now they are lining up to knock him down.

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Excuse me, are you saying he is only being harassed by the authorities because he is a nasty piece of work and we should leave him alone?

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festival [105 posts] 3 years ago
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assuming he is guilty. He probably is, but I must also confess to having some misgivings over the nature of what is happening, it is extremely agressive from USADA (and Lance, obviously) and it does have the feel of something where the result is already predetermined, which surely it shouldnt necessarily be?[/quote]

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Why shouldn't it be aggressive (By USADA)and I think you are confusing your feeling of the case being predetermined with the evidence that he is a cheating scum bag and its about time people saw the bigger picture.
Too many people base their views on the Armstrong mafia's bullying and smoke and mirrors tactics.

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crazy-legs [750 posts] 3 years ago
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festival wrote:

Excuse me, are you saying he is only being harassed by the authorities because he is a nasty piece of work and we should leave him alone?

I don't think he's saying that at all, just that it's an extremely messy and protracted case which seems to be focussing unnecessarily on one person instead of rooting out the (supposed) rotten core of cycling in general.

Going after one person, especially this aggressively, doesn't really serve any purpose. It's almost moved on from whether Armstrong is guilty or not - that's a sideshow now to the protracted legal fights that we'll now go through yet again. It's old ground, it's been done to death yet somehow here we are again.

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seabass89 [212 posts] 3 years ago
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crazy-legs wrote:

Going after one person, especially this aggressively, doesn't really serve any purpose.

Then again, Armstrong isn't just "anyone". He is the big grand-tour cyclist of the 1990-2000s and hence won, as we all know, several tdfs. He did so (99% chance) through a rather complicated network of cheaters who seem to have pulled a lot of strings to get away.

If thats not the rotten [dope] core of cycling, I don't know what is.

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6654henry [56 posts] 3 years ago
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I want the hours back i spent reading 'It's not about the bike'.

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SideBurn [890 posts] 3 years ago
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This seems like same sh*t diffrent day? The line, "given the agency’s limited resources" is also worrying... Lots of people lining up to make allegations without 'hard' evidence which, if it ever existed, will have been disposed of in a clinical waste bag years ago. If enough people make the same allegation about a person it does not mean guilt to me; if this was the case anyone could be found guilty of anything! His blood samples still exist though; will these ever provide conclusive evidence? Innocent until proven guilty

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CarbonBreaker [86 posts] 3 years ago
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crazy-legs wrote:
festival wrote:

Excuse me, are you saying he is only being harassed by the authorities because he is a nasty piece of work and we should leave him alone?

I don't think he's saying that at all, just that it's an extremely messy and protracted case which seems to be focussing unnecessarily on one person instead of rooting out the (supposed) rotten core of cycling in general.

Going after one person, especially this aggressively, doesn't really serve any purpose. It's almost moved on from whether Armstrong is guilty or not - that's a sideshow now to the protracted legal fights that we'll now go through yet again. It's old ground, it's been done to death yet somehow here we are again.

I seem to remember they are not just going after Lance, (another 4 people were cited). From how the USADA worded their case, the infamous 15 pages) it looks more like they are going after Lance the part owner of the team, and the team managers etc.

I think being stripped of his titles and a ban, is more like a "benefit" of the case against the organisation, rather than the rider.

I hope that it is put to bed once an for all and if reputations are ruined, because they ran an "organised doping conspiracy" then how can that be bad?

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6654henry [56 posts] 3 years ago
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SideBurn wrote:

This seems like same sh*t diffrent day? The line, "given the agency’s limited resources" is also worrying... Lots of people lining up to make allegations without 'hard' evidence which, if it ever existed, will have been disposed of in a clinical waste bag years ago. If enough people make the same allegation about a person it does not mean guilt to me; if this was the case anyone could be found guilty of anything! His blood samples still exist though; will these ever provide conclusive evidence? Innocent until proven guilty

Well it actually depends on the case however people have been convicted of murder without a dead body. It isn't a simple yes or no you have to ask the right questions: Do they have a reason to lie? Are they in a conspiracy? Physical evidence is not prerequisite but would bolster and undermine any defence of conspiracy.

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crazy-legs [750 posts] 3 years ago
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seabass89 wrote:

He did so (99% chance) through a rather complicated network of cheaters who seem to have pulled a lot of strings to get away.
If thats not the rotten [dope] core of cycling, I don't know what is.

No, at the moment there's a whole host of allegations, rumours, denials, claims, counter claims, accusations and hearsay and frankly no-one knows what he did or didn't do with the exception of the man himself.

This is the same old same old re-hashed each time with the idea that if you throw enough sh1t at someone, some of it may eventually stick. At the moment, he's innocent and neither you nor anyone else know enough about it to state percentages. This is the same old "news story" dragged out around the time of the Tour for maximum publicity.  2

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Flippa [38 posts] 3 years ago
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If he's found guilty of doping, can they strip him of all his titles, even if they don't have evidence going back to the start of his career wins?

Surely they would have to give him the same treatment as any other athlete, in that if they only have evidence from 2010 onwards (as they seemed to suggest previously) they could not take his titles from before then.

He won 7 times. I find it surprising that if he and his team had been doping over such a long period of time there were no mistakes resulting in evidence of the offence. Especially at the start of his career when he was pretty much just another rider & wouldn't have had the special treatment he might have received as a multiple tour winner.

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SideBurn [890 posts] 3 years ago
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I hear what you are saying 6654henry; ask Nicholas Rose. He was convicted in 2005 and failed in his appeal. Still people say his victim is still alive and he is still protesting innocence. If he had a pile of money, Hoogstraten or O.J.Simpson style; same result? I just want to see justice done.