US Justice Department joining fraud suit against Lance Armstrong

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02/23/2013| 0 comments
by AP and Roadcycling.com
Lance Armstrong Fotoreporter Sirotti

US Justice Department joining fraud suit against Lance Armstrong

The Justice Department joined a lawsuit Friday against disgraced cyclist Lance Armstrong that alleges the former seven-time Tour de France champion concealed his use of performance-enhancing drugs and defrauded his longtime sponsor, the U.S. Postal Service.

there is enough merit in the case to take it over. The private whistle-blower receives a percentage of any money ultimately recovered.

In his 2010 complaint, which was made public Friday, Landis gave a detailed account of what he alleged had been widespread use of performance-enhancing drugs by Armstrong and assistance from Bruyneel and others to carry out the drug use.

During the 2002 Tour de France, Landis and Armstrong lay on opposite sides of a bed to receive re-infusions of a half-liter of blood each, Landis' complaint said. During the banned procedure, Bruyneel sat in a chair watching and commented on how well the two were going to do in a time trial the following day, according to Landis.

In Spain, Landis went to Armstrong's apartment, where Landis met now-banned Italian physician Michele Ferrari, who drew half a liter of blood and placed it in a refrigerator. Armstrong then asked Landis to stay in the apartment to check the temperature of the blood each day while Armstrong went away for a few weeks to train.

In 2003, the withdrawal of two units of blood had left Landis in need of EPO to stimulate the production of red blood cells. Landis went to Armstrong's apartment, where Armstrong handed him a box of EPO, which Landis then used intravenously for several weeks during training for the Vuelta a Espana, a Grand Tour in Spain.

In 2004 for the Tour de France, Armstrong, Landis and seven teammates took blood transfusions on the team bus on a ride from the finish of one stage of the race to the hotel. To conduct the transfusions, the bus driver pulled over to the side of a remote mountain road for an hour, feigning engine trouble.

Armstrong was the subject of a two-year federal grand jury investigation that the Justice Department dropped a year ago without an indictment.

Throughout his career, Armstrong always denied drug use, but he confessed to having done so in an interview last month.

In October, USADA released a report that included affidavits from eleven of Armstrong's former teammates. These affidavits detailed how the teammates were supplied with EPO -- a banned hormone that increases oxygen-carrying red blood cells to boost endurance, particularly in thin mountain air -- by Armstrong and saw him inject, and how they were pressured to dope and bullied by Armstrong and Bruyneel. The cycling world's governing body, UCI, then reluctantly took away from Armstrong the seven Tour de France titles he won from 1999 to 2005.

Armstrong and USADA officials talked on and off over a couple of months about the terms under which the cyclist might sit down for a long interview to tell all he knows about doping in cycling, but Armstrong finally announced he would not cooperate.

A person familiar with discussions between Armstrong and USADA, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the discussions were private, said among the topics was how much protection USADA could provide Armstrong in the whistle-blower case and against possible criminal action. The cyclist and his attorneys were not satisfied

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