There's no love lost between Floyd Landis and Lance Armstrong, two of America's greatest cyclists with a combined zero Tour de France wins between them. After Landis was nailed for synthetic testosterone use and stripped of his trophies, he turned informer—he made public claims about Armstrong's and the USPS team's doping program, and assisted the government with their investigation.
Now, both Landis and the government look to recover some of the money pumped into Armstrong over the years. Obtained by the Daily News, this is the so-called "whistleblower" lawsuit. Landis is claiming that Armstrong, team director Johan Bruyneel and others defrauded the government out of more than $30 million they paid to sponsor the USPS team. And as the whistleblower, Landis could receive up to a quarter of the money collected.
Landis recounts a number of instances he, Armstrong, and other USPS team members had their blood drawn before a race, only to be re-injected with it for the benefits of high levels of red blood cells. Landis and others flew to Belgium on two occasions, in May and June of 2004, to have blood taken by a doctor. During that summer's Tour de France, the lawsuit says,
"The transfusion was performed on the team bus on the ride from the finish of a stage to the hotel during which time the driver pretended to have engine trouble and stopped on a remote mountain road for approximately an hour, so the entire team could have half a liter of blood transfused."
The suit also implicates the sport's national governing body, drawing links between Thomas Weisel, a banker who founded and co-owned Armstrong's teams, and members of USA Cycling. For example:
USA Cycling executives Steve Johnson and Jim Ochowicz had financial ties with Weisel's investment bank, as well as Tailwind Sports and Capital Sports and Entertainment, corporate entities controlled by Weisel and Armstrong. Ochowicz, the president of USA Cycling's board from 2002 to 2008, was also a broker at Weisel's investment bank.
Members of the Justice Department have recommended the government join the lawsuit, and have reportedly turned down Armstrong's offer to settle out of court for $5 million. Attorney General Eric Holder will now decide whether the DOJ should take over the case against Lance Armstrong.