USADA grants Armstrong extension

Updated: 2013-02-09 08:50

(China Daily/Agencies)

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Disgraced cyclist given more time to agree to testify under oath

Lance Armstrong, facing a multi-million dollar lawsuit and reportedly the subject of a new criminal probe, got a bit of breathing room on Wednesday from the US Anti-Doping Agency.

USADA gave him two more weeks to cooperate with anti-doping authorities by testifying under oath, now Armstrong has admitted to using performance-enhancing drugs.

USADA grants Armstrong extension
Dallas insurance company SCA Promotions said it would file a $12 million lawsuit against Armstrong over bonuses it paid to him for multiple Tour de France victories.

The company had asked Armstrong to repay the money after he was stripped last year of his record seven Tour de France titles and banned for life after USADA found him to be the key figure in a sophisticated doping scheme on his US Postal Service teams.

"I can now confirm that we are filing tomorrow (Thursday)," SCA attorney Jeff Dorough said on Wednesday. "We think there are several avenues for us to seek recovery on this."

Armstrong sued SCA and won after the company delayed his 2005 bonus payment because of reports in Europe that the American used performance-enhancing drugs.

"Armstrong and his lawyers said flat out at that time that if he was ever stripped of the titles they would pay the money back," Dorough said. "We're just seeking to hold them to their promises."

That might not be the only legal battle looming for Armstrong now he has admitted via a confessioal TV interview with Oprah Winfrey that he did dope during all seven of his Tour de France triumphs.

ABC News reported Wednesday that federal agents are investigating Armstrong for crimes including obstruction, witness tampering and intimidation.

Citing an anonymous source, ABC News said the current probe is focused on different charges from those previously investigated in a federal probe that was dropped last year.

US Attorney Andre Birotte, who led the prior investigation, said he had no current plans to press charges despite Armstrong's recent doping admissions, although that could change.

Birotte's investigation was centered on doping, fraud, conspiracy and Armstrong's denials of such crimes when he was the lead rider at US Postal.

The ABC News source, quoted on condition of anonymity, said, "Birotte does not speak for the federal government as a whole. Agents are actively investigating Armstrong for obstruction, witness tampering and intimidation".

USA Today reported on Wednesday the Food and Drug Administration was investigating Armstrong.

FDA special agent Jeff Novitzy once played a key role in the BALCO steroid distribution probe and worked to build a case against Armstrong before the government declined to file charges in February of 2012.

FDA spokeswoman Sarah Clark-Lynn said on Wednesday, however, that the FDA "is not currently investigating on Lance Armstrong".

Former teammate Tyler Hamilton opened the door to possible witness tampering charges against Armstrong when he described a confrontation with Armstrong at a bar in Colorado in 2011 - when Hamilton was a witness in the then on-going federal probe.

"The biggest thing he said is: 'You know, we're going to make your life a living, hell, both in the courtroom and out,'" Hamilton recalled Armstrong saying.

After the government probe of Armstrong ended without charges in 2012, USADA continued its own investigation, using the testimony of former teammates to build a devastating case against him.

After Armstrong finally came clean last month, USADA chief Travis Tygart had given him until Wednesday to cooperate with anti-doping authorities by testifying under oath about his activities.