Lawsuit says if buyers had known work based on lies, they wouldn't have bought it... or if they did, they'd have enjoyed it less...

A class action lawsuit has been launched in California by people who purchased Lance Armstrong’s best selling autobiography, It’s Not About The Bike, co-written with Sally Jenkins. The action also mentions its sequel, Every Second Counts.

One of the people bringing the action is Sacramento resident Rob Stutzman, a former deputy chief of staff for ex-Governor of California, Arnold Schwarzenegger, reports CNN. Joining himp is a chef, Jonathan Wheeler.

The lawsuit which has been filed in a federal court in the state this week alleges that the disgraced cyclist and his publishers engaged in fraud and false advertising.

"Throughout the book, Defendant Armstrong repeatedly denies that he ever used banned substances before or during his professional cycling career," it says.

Stutzman and Wheeler, it continues, purchased Armstrong’s books "based upon the false belief that they were true and honest works of nonfiction when, in fact, Defendants knew or should have known that these books were works of fiction."

There is no mention in the lawsuit of exactly how much compensation the pair are seeking, although it does seek “any statutorily permissible damages, attorneys' fees, expenses and costs."

According to the papers filed with the court, Stutzman, who says he was inspired by the tale of the cancer survivor who conquered the Tour de France, even met Armstrong on one occasion.

"At that time, Stutzman thanked Defendant Armstrong for writing his book and told him it was very inspiring and that he recommended it to friends who were fighting cancer. In response, Armstrong thanked Stutzman."

Stutzman and Wheeler claim in their lawsuit that had they known that It’s Not About The Bike was based on falsehoods, they wouldn’t have purchased it – or, at least, they would have got less enjoyment from reading it.”

The book currently has a rating of 4.4 stars out of 5 on Amazon.co.uk, although some of the recent reviews are less than flattering.

One, made last October by Graham Pierce, awards it 1 star under the heading: “It's not about the bike....it's about the EPO, cortisone, actovegin, testosterone and blood doping.”

He concludes his review: “Mind you, it's a groundbreaking employment of the unreliable narrator in a biography.”

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.