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US government asks to see Lance Armstrong's 1996 medical records

The US federal government wants to find out if doctors treating Armstrong's cancer knew about the cyclist's doping...

The American federal government has asked to see Lance Armstrong's medical records from 1996 to discover whether doctors treating his cancer knew he used performance enhancing drugs.

Court records show that government lawyers subpoenaed the Indiana University School of Medicine on 30 July to provide records of Armstrong's treatments and donations he later made to the school. 

The government is hoping to recover millions of dollars paid via the US Postal Service to Armstrong's teams from 1998-2004. Penalties could reach $100m.

Armstrong's lawyers have asked a Washington DC judge to block the subpoena, claiming the release of his records would constitute a breach of privacy while noting Armstrong confessed in 2013 to doping during his seven Tour de France wins, and prior to 1996.

Armstrong's lawyers wrote: "Those documents are irrelevant to the subject matter of this litigation and the request is nothing more than an attempt to harass Armstrong, cause unnecessary delay, and needlessly increase the cost of this litigation." 

The US government apparently released a flurry of subpoenas for information late in the evidence-gathering phase of the whistleblower case. The case was started by former teammate Floyd Landis, and joined by the federal government in 2013, but is not expected to go to trial before 2016.

Also subpoenaed are sponsors Nike Inc, Trek Bicycle Corp., Giro Sport Design and Discovery Communications Inc., the government's aim to discover whether any of those companies knew about Armstrong's doping. These will require a "person most knowledgeable" to be chosen by each company to discuss Armstrong's sponsorship deals and whether the companies had prior awareness of the athlete's doping.

Betsy Andreu, wife of Armstrong's former team mate Frankie Andreu, has testified that she was in the room when Armstrong  told doctors he had taken performance-enhancing drugs, including steroids and EPO, a conversation Armstrong has denied memory of, as he was recovering from brain surgery.

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