Suit Over Armstrong’s Cycling Bonuses Settles

     AUSTIN (CN) – Disgraced cyclist Lance Armstrong has settled an insurer’s $3 million lawsuit over bonuses he earned for Tour de France titles that were stripped because of his steroid abuse.
     Acceptance Insurance sued Armstrong and his management company, Tailwind Sports, in Travis County District Court in March.
     Two months earlier Armstrong admitted to using performance-enhancing drugs and blood doping in a televised interview with Oprah Winfrey.
     The Union Cycliste International, cycling’s governing body, stripped Armstrong in 2012 of his seven Tour victories and banned him from the sport for life after the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency released a “reasoned decision” that accused Armstrong of running the most sophisticated doping program in sports history.
     Acceptance had planned to depose Armstrong today regarding his use of performance-enhancing drugs and blood doping, but the settlement announced Wednesday kept that development at bay.
     Armstrong had tried to get the suit tossed, but Travis County Judge Darlene Byrne shot him down in July.
     Two months later, Travis County Judge Tim Sulak overruled discovery objections and preserved only claims of attorney-client privilege and spousal privilege.
     Armstrong has yet to testify under oath regarding his use of performance-enhancing drugs and blood doping since the Winfrey interview.
     Acceptance’s attorney, Mark Kincaid with George Brothers in Austin, told Sulak at a previous hearing that Armstrong had admitted he doped and used performance-enhancing drugs from 1999 to 2001, the years covered by Acceptance’s policy.
     The insurer nevertheless wanted information about the conspiracy for Armstrong’s entire career, not just the years the policy was in place.
     Armstrong refused to answer questions regarding 1995 to 2010. The questions asked in which races Armstrong used performance-enhancing drugs, if his teammates used them, and who provided and paid for them, according to Acceptance’s motion to compel.
     A transcript of the Aug. 14 hearing reveals that Kincaid asked, “then with respect to all of the other inquiries, what about the other years?”
     “Did you dope before that? Did you dope after that? Who helped you dope? Who gave you the dope? Who paid for the dope? Who knew you were doping? They object and take the position that, well, we’ve admitted the three years that matter, so none of the rest of this matters. Well, it matters tremendously. Every year before 1999 goes to the issue of fraud and inducing this contract.”
     In its complaint, Acceptance accused Armstrong of committing fraud through “cheating and deception.” It claimed he voided the policy in place, that the policy excludes any loss caused by a dishonest or fraudulent act and excludes any claim “arising out of fraud, misrepresentation, collusion or dishonesty.”
     “At all relevant times, the Tour de France rules and regulations prohibited the use of performance enhancing drugs,” the complaint stated. “Armstrong was never entitled to receive any of the payments, because he cheated in each race and violated the rules and regulations of the events.”
     Acceptance claimed that Armstrong and Tailwind had to certify that the competition was in accordance with the terms of the policy and rules of the competition.
     “Those certifications were lies,” the complaint stated. “Armstrong’s doping-enhanced wins violated the rules of the competition, and of course they knew it.”

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