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Lance Armstrong set to testify under oath after another appeal denied in $12m insurance case

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.”

John has been writing about bikes and cycling for over 30 years since discovering that people were mug enough to pay him for it rather than expecting him to do an honest day's work.

He was heavily involved in the mountain bike boom of the late 1980s as a racer, team manager and race promoter, and that led to writing for Mountain Biking UK magazine shortly after its inception. He got the gig by phoning up the editor and telling him the magazine was rubbish and he could do better. Rather than telling him to get lost, MBUK editor Tym Manley called John’s bluff and the rest is history.

Since then he has worked on MTB Pro magazine and was editor of Maximum Mountain Bike and Australian Mountain Bike magazines, before switching to the web in 2000 to work for CyclingNews.com. Along with road.cc founder Tony Farelly, John was on the launch team for BikeRadar.com and subsequently became editor in chief of Future Publishing’s group of cycling magazines and websites, including Cycling Plus, MBUK, What Mountain Bike and Procycling.

John has also written for Cyclist magazine, edited the BikeMagic website and was founding editor of TotalWomensCycling.com before handing over to someone far more representative of the site's main audience.

He joined road.cc in 2013. He lives in Cambridge where the lack of hills is more than made up for by the headwinds.

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