WASHINGTON (AFP) – Disgraced U.S. cyclist Lance Armstrong has hit back at a federal lawsuit against him and said that his former team overlooked allegations of doping because of a lucrative sponsorship deal.
The Texan rider, who is now in full damage control mode after he admitted to being a drugs cheat in January, asked an American judge in a court filing Tuesday to dismiss the Justice Department False Claims Act lawsuit.
Armstrong was riding for the U.S. Postal Service team at the time to which the lawsuit relates.
“Although the government now pretends to be aggrieved by these allegations, its actions at the time are far more telling.” Armstrong’s motion states.
“Did it suspend the team pending an investigation? Did it refer the matter to its phalanx of lawyers and investigators at the Department of Justice for review? It did not.
“Rather than exercise its right to terminate the sponsorship agreement, it instead renewed its contract to sponsor the team.
“The rationale behind the government’s decision is obvious. Armstrong had recently won the 2000 Tour de France. The government wanted a winner and all the publicity, exposure, and acclaim that goes along with being his sponsor. It got exactly what it bargained for.”