Sport Cycling Drug cheat Lance Armstrong jockeys for position ahead of fraud trial
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Drug cheat Lance Armstrong jockeys for position ahead of fraud trial

lance Armstrong AFP
Lance Armstrong: sport's most controversial drug cheat. Getty
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Lance Armstrong’s $US100 million ($A132 million) fraud trial is months away, yet his fight with the government and former teammate-turned-rival Floyd Landis is heating up.

Armstrong wants to bar potential testimony in November from some of his biggest critics, including the blistering US Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) report that led to his downfall and former Tour de France champion Greg LeMond.

Landis, who tipped investigators to Armstrong’s cheating in 2010, wants to prevent Armstrong telling jurors about his own doping history and motivation to file a lawsuit that could put more than $US20 million ($A26 million) in his pocket.

Landis initially sued Armstrong in 2010, alleging he violated the cycling team’s US Postal Service contract by using performance-enhancing drugs.

The government joined in 2013 after Armstrong admitted using steroids and other banned performance-enhancing drugs and techniques to win the Tour seven times.

The government wants to recover more than $US30 million ($A40 million) the Postal Service paid to sponsor Armstrong’s team and will seek triple damages.

Armstrong’s cheating was exposed in a 2012 USADA report that included sworn testimony from several former teammates. He was stripped of his Tour victories, banned from competition and has paid out an estimated $20 million to settle various lawsuits.

US champion Greg Lemond had his eye on the finish line during his 1989 Tour de France triumph. Now his target his Lance Armstrong.  Photo: AP

Armstrong’s lawyers call the report “inadmissible hearsay” for the federal case and say it was written to satisfy the motives of an agency out to get him.

They notably object to the report’s summation that Armstrong led the most “most sophisticated” doping program in sports history.

Even if the report is blocked, Armstrong has admitted and provided sworn testimony about his performance-enhancing drug use.

LeMond’s presence at trial could be explosive, as he has clashed fiercely with Armstrong and Landis in the past. Armstrong’s lawyers want him out.

“While LeMond is well-versed in the prevalence of doping throughout the sport during the relevant time period (1997-2004) and still owns the record for the fastest time trial in Tour de France history, he has no personal knowledge regarding Armstrong, the USPS sponsorship agreement, or invoices submitted for sponsorship payments,” Armstrong’s lawyers wrote.

The government wants the judge to block some of Armstrong’s evidence as well, including two reports commissioned by the Postal Service.

Those reports claim the sponsorship was worth more than $100 million in global exposure, leading Armstrong to claim he owes the government nothing. The government argues those reports should be disallowed as “hearsay” that lack expert testimony to support them.

Floyd Landis
Floyd Landis stands to make 25 per cent of whatever the US government recovers from his ex-teammate. Photo: Getty

The government also wants to prevent him attacking Landis’ character and motivation.

Landis’ 2006 Tour victory was stripped after he was caught using synthetic testosterone. He initially claimed innocence and asked the public to finance his defence.

Landis was later prosecuted for fraud and paid back more than $US475,000 ($A625,000). As the whistleblower against Armstrong, Landis stands to pocket up to 25 per cent of any damages awarded.

-AAP