US Department of Justice to join lawsuit against Lance Armstrong


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The Independent Online

Lance Armstrong faces a formidable new opponent with the revelation that the United States government is joining his former cycling teammates in suing him for use of performance enhancing drugs.

The US Justice Department is joining the lawsuit filed two years ago by Floyd Landis, a former Tour de France teammate of Armstrong’s, who has already confessed to doping.

The main allegations of the lawsuit are that Landis saw Armstrong administer performance enhancing blood transfusions on himself using stored bags of his blood and that Armstrong gave Landis banned hormones on two occasions before races.

Armstrong vehemently denied ever using illegal substances for years although confessed to taking performance enhancing drugs during a television interview with Oprah Winfrey last month.

“My cocktail, so to speak, was EPO -- but not a lot -- transfusions and testosterone,” he said.

The Justice Department are joining the lawsuit with the reasoning that when Armstrong agreed to race for the US Postal Service team during the Tour de France he defrauded the government by taking illegal drugs while claiming not to.

Should their lawsuit be successful, Armstrong could face very heavy fines based on the fact that the US Postal Service has paid over $30m in sponsorship fees to his teams over the years.

Cycling website Velo News reported earlier this week that USADA chief Travis Tygart had urged the US Attorney General to join the Landis lawsuit in a letter to the Justice Department and it appears that his letter proved effective.