Disgraced former American cyclist Lance Armstrong on Thursday settled federal fraud charges against him for $US5 million. The charges were related to his use of performance-enhancing drugs during his professional racing career.
It ended a protracted legal battle that involved former teammate Floyd Landis and the US government on behalf of the US Postal Service, Armstrong’s Tour de France team sponsor from 1999 through 2005. Landis filed the original lawsuit – which had sought $US100 million – in 2010 and is eligible for up to 25% of the settlement.
The deal came as the two sides prepared for a trial that was scheduled to start May 7 in Washington, The Associated Press reported. Armstrong said he was happy to have “made peace with the Postal Service.”
For a decade, Armstrong was not only one of the world’s most dominant athletes but also one of its most recognisable figures. Armstrong did what no one had ever done: He won the Tour de France seven times, and he did so consecutively from 1999 to 2005.
But that was all before the US Anti-Doping Agency found that his team had run “the most sophisticated, professionalized and successful doping program that sport has ever seen.”
As we know now, Armstrong used a variety of performance-enhancing drugs, and all his wins in the greatest bicycle race were eventually stripped from him.
As recently as 2016 Armstrong still blasted USADA, calling it “one of the most ineffective and inefficient organisations in the world” and claiming its CEO, Travis Tygart, went after him only because he needed a case and a story.
Armstrong didn’t act alone, and it was, darkly so, a team effort. A calculating tactician, Le Boss handpicked his teammates carefully, and together they were cycling’s most successful team.
Several of the riders who served under Armstrong’s tainted reign are still involved in the sport.
Here’s a look at what he and his old teammates have been up to:
An indelible image from the era was that of the US Postal Service’s “Blue Train” setting a blistering pace at the front of the peloton, one that no one could match, let alone beat.
Levi Leipheimer was an all-rounder who rode with Armstrong on a few different teams at the Tour. He later admitted doping during his career.
He now lives in Santa Rosa, California, where he runs a mass-participation bike ride. He also does promotion videos and coaches cyclists.
Kevin Livingston was a climber who rode on two of Armstrong’s Tour-winning teams. A French Senate report accused Livingston of using EPO in the 1998 Tour.
Livingston now lives in Austin, Texas, where he runs a company that coaches cyclists. It’s located in the basement of Mellow Johnny’s Bike Shop, which is owned by Armstrong.
Tyler Hamilton helped Armstrong win Tours by leading him through the Alps and Pyrenees. He later admitted doping during his career.
Hamilton now lives in Missoula, Montana. He works in real estate and helps run a company that coaches cyclists. He also gives talks. He wrote a tell-all best-seller, “The Secret Race.”
George Hincapie was Armstrong’s most loyal and trusted teammate and the only person to ride on all seven of Armstrong’s Tour-winning teams. He admitted doping during his career.
He now lives in Greenville, South Carolina, where he runs a cycling-apparel company and a mass-participation bike ride. He wrote a book, “The Loyal Lieutenant,” about his career.
Floyd Landis was an all-rounder who helped Armstrong win Tours and won one himself. He, too, was stripped of his Tour title because of PEDs.
In 2016 Landis started a business that sells cannabis products.
Frankie Andreu was a cocaptain of the US Postal team with Armstrong in 1998, 1999, and 2000. He was one of the first riders to admit he had doped to help Armstrong win the Tour.
Andreu lives in the Detroit area and works in domestic cycling as a commentator.
Related: Andreu: Lance ‘is out to wreck me’
Christian Vande Velde rode on the first two of Armstrong’s Tour-winning teams. He later admitted doping during his career.
Vande Velde lives in Illinois and works as a cycling commentator for NBC.
Tom Danielson was hailed as “the next Lance Armstrong,” and though he didn’t race the Tour with Armstrong, they were teammates for a few years. He admitted doping.
Danielson is currently provisionally suspended after testing positive for synthetic testosterone. He could face a lifetime ban from cycling, having previously admitted doping while riding with the Discovery Channel team. He lives in Boulder, Colorado, and has written a book on training for cycling. He owns a company that runs training camps for cyclists.
Dave Zabriskie was a strong time-trial rider and a teammate of Armstrong for a few years. He later admitted doping during his career.
He now lives in Los Angeles, where he runs a company that makes chamois cream.
Jonathan Vaughters took the start with Armstrong’s Tour-winning team in 1999, but he crashed out on stage two. He later admitted doping during his career.
He now manages Cannondale Pro Cycling, a top team that competes in the Tour de France. He is outspoken against doping.
Source: Slipstream Sports
Belgian Johan Bruyneel was Armstrong’s team director during his seven Tour wins.
He now lives in Madrid and London. USADA handed him a 10-year ban from cycling for being “at the apex of a conspiracy to commit widespread doping.”
Armstrong made history by winning a record seven Tours de France but was later stripped of his titles because he used PEDs.
Armstrong now owns multimillion-dollar properties in Aspen, Colorado, and Austin, Texas. He settled federal fraud charges against him for $US5 million on April 19, 2018, ending a protracted legal battle with former teammate Floyd Landis. Banned from cycling for life, Armstrong sought counseling after his doping confession. He launched a podcast in June 2016.
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