24th of December 2012 Author: Johnny Karp
The Sunday Times is suing Lance Armstrong for up to £1 million after the American rider was given a life ban and stripped of his seven Tour de France titles for doping. Armstrong, now aged 41, was paid £300,000 back in 2004 to settle a libel case after the newspaper alleged he had cheated. This year the US Anti-Doping Agency found he had led the "most sophisticated" drug-taking programme in sport.
In light of the new USADA report, the newspaper is demanding the return of the £300,000 settlement payment along with interest and legal costs. The newspaper's letter to Armstrong's lawyers read: "It is clear that the proceedings were baseless and fraudulent. Your representations that you had never taken performance-enhancing drugs were deliberately false."
David Walsh, the chief sports writer of the Sunday Times, first raised questions about Armstrong in 1999, when he won the Tour de France for the first time. Then, in 2004, the newspaper published an article saying it was right for questions about Armstrong's performance to be both "posed an answered".
The American cyclist's lawyers issued a writ and it was later ruled that the meaning of the article was that Armstrong was "a fraud, a cheat and a liar". The Sunday Times settled with him in June 2006 while the American has always denied taking performance-enhancing drugs. However, he chose not to fight Usada's charges against him.
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