The Texan company who insured bonuses were paid to Lance Armstrong following his fourth, fifth and sixth Tour de France wins will this week file a lawsuit to recoup $12m (€9m) from the disgraced American cyclist.
Following Armstrong’s confession that he took performance enhancing drugs to help him secure those wins, SCA Promotions said in a statement yesterday: “We will likely file that lawsuit as soon as next week unless we get a satisfactory response from Armstrong’s camp.
“While SCA is pleased that Mr Armstrong has finally come clean about his use of performance-enhancing drugs and shown the world that SCA was right all along, the fact remains that SCA suffered substantial damage as a result of Mr Armstrong misleading the world about his use of banned substances. Therefore we will continue to pursue our legal options for the return of the prize amounts that were paid to Mr Armstrong under fraudulent circumstances.”
SCA initially refused to pay out money covering the bonus for Armstrong’s sixth Tour win in 2004, totalling $5m (€3.7m), because it argued Armstrong was not a clean rider.
Armstrong took the company to an arbitration hearing in Dallas in 2005 and won, because the contract between the parties stipulated the insurance money would be payable if Armstrong was the “official winner” of the Tour.
But, after Armstrong’s confession of doping to Oprah Winfrey this week, SCA lawyer Jeff Tillotson said his client would be looking to recover the money, now assessed at $12m (€9m) because of legal costs and interest.
Meanwhile, as the fallout to his doping continues, the Irish journalist who was at the forefront of bringing about his demise, admitted he felt “a little bit of sympathy” for Armstrong.
Armstrong said in the interview he would consider apologising to Sunday Times reporter David Walsh, against whom he had launched a number of personal tirades, particularly after his 2004 book LA Confidential contained allegations about the rider.
Walsh told BBC Radio Five Live’s Sportsweek: “I know this is going to sound preposterous but I felt a little but of sympathy for Armstrong.
“Intellectually he had to be remorseful, but emotionally he couldn’t do it. Basically, Armstrong knew what he had to do but he wasn’t capable of doing it because obviously he’s got serious personality issues.
“Lance needed to look remorseful and repentant and you would see a flicker of a smirk crossing his face, and he didn’t mean to do that — it was involuntary.”
Among the personal attacks aimed by Armstrong at Walsh was the implication that Walsh had a vendetta against the sport since Walsh’s son John was knocked off his bicycle and killed at the age of 12.
Walsh described the allegation as “insensitive to the point of evil”, and added that while he was not seeking an apology from Armstrong, he would accept it if one was forthcoming.
“I’m not looking for an apology, I don’t need one and I don’t want one,” added Walsh. “But if he does offer it it will be gratefully accepted.’’
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