Lance Armstrong faces $100 million lawsuit

The US Government has obtained clearance to bring the disgraced cyclist to trial

Lance Armstrong faces $100 million lawsuit

George Burns AP/Press Association Images

A judge has cleared the US Government to pursue a lawsuit seeking damages worth an estimated $100 million, against former professional cyclist Lance Armstrong.

The US Justice Department alleges that Armstrong defrauded the Government by accepting millions of dollars in sponsorship money from the US postal service (USPS).

US District Judge Christopher Cooper ruled on Monday, that the case must be decided by a jury.

"Because the government has offered evidence that Armstrong withheld information about the team's doping and use of PEDs and that the anti-doping provisions of the sponsorship agreements were material to USPS's decision to continue the sponsorship and make payments under the agreements, the Court must deny Armstrong's motion for summary judgement on this issue."

Armstrong cycled for USPS during his seven Tour de France title victories (1999-2005) and covered up his doping while still receiving sponsorship from the organisation.

Armstrong was stripped of his titles in 2012 and was also issued a life-time ban. After repeatedly denying the accusations, Armstrong publicly acknowledged to years of doping in an interview with Oprah Winfrey in January of 2013.

Armstrong's former teammate, Floyd Landis, initially brought the lawsuit in 2010 for fraud. The US Government joined the case in 2013.

Armstrong has tried to have the case dropped, claiming that the sponsorship benefited the Postal Service and was worth more to USPS than the $32m it paid to his now disbanded team, Tailwind Sports Corporation. His lawyers estimate that media exposure for USPS was worth at least $160m.

Armstrong sought to get a summary judgement on the case last April. Judge Cooper however, overruled that argument earlier this week in a 37-page decision about the case.

Damages for the Government could triple the $32m that the Postal Service paid to Armstrong's team, should he lose the case. Landis stands to earn some 25% of whatever the Government is awarded.