$3 million case for fraud relates to 1999-2001 Tour wins

In the latest blow to his hopes of a quiet life in retirement, Lance Armstrong’s request to dismiss a court case against him has been refused by a Texas judge.

Acceptance Insurance Holdings guaranteed Armstrong’s win bonuses for his Tour de france victories in 1999, 2000 and 2001 when he was riding for the US Postal team run by Tailwind Sports.

Now the insurance company wants its $3 million back after Armstrong confessed in January to using performance-enhancing drugs in all of his Tour de France victories.

Armstrong’s lawyers argued that the case should be dismissed because because the statute of limitations for fraud and breach of contract claims expired by 2011.

Acceptance Insurance said the statute of limitations period did not start until Armstrong admitted cheating.

On Monday, Travis County Judge Darlene Byrne denied Armstrong's request to dismiss.

Acceptance attorney Mark Kincaid said the company intends to call Armstrong as its first witness and to question him under oath.

Armstrong has avoided testifying under oath since his confession, and has maintained that he did not dope during his 2009-2011 comeback. If he admits under oath that he also doped in the period, he opens the door to more lawsuits.

Armstrong is already facing several lawsuits relating to his Tour de France victories and other aspects his former team’s activities. A federal case against Armstrong is seeking to recover $40 million paid by the US Postal Service

Armstrong is also being sued by SCA Promotions, which guaranteed his later Tour de France bonuses, and the Sunday Times, which settled a libel case out of court with Armstrong in 2006.

Armstrong’s total liability if all the suits find against him is estimated at $135 million dollars. His personal net worth is estimated at $125 million.

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.