Sports News Without Access, Favor, Or Discretion

Lance Armstrong was motivated to do the Oprah Winfrey interview that made everyone hate him in part because he thought "coming clean" would be the first step toward reducing his lifetime competitive sports ban. Unfortunately, Travis Tygart, the head of the USADA and the person who could adjudicate that ban, says Armstrong failed to actually come clean to Oprah. Among other falsehoods, Armstrong told Winfrey he did not dope during the 2009 and 2010 Tours de France; blood tests, Tygart claims, "solidly refute" that assertion. For an episode of 60 Minutes that will air this Sunday, Tygart told CBS that Armstrong might have lied about this because the statute of limitations for fraud related to those Tours has yet to expire.


That means Armstrong needs to fess up—actually, this time—before Tygart's truth-deadline of Feb. 6 if he wants to avoid a permanant ban. The Associated Press reports that Armstrong isn't into it: His attorney told the USADA that "his client's schedule is already full," and that Armstrong no longer recognizes the USADA's authority. By last night, Armstrong's attorney had "strongly suggested Armstrong won't meet with USADA at all but intends to appear before the UCI's planned 'truth and reconciliation' commission," which they should rename.

So Armstrong is now 10 days shy of being banned from sports for life. Tough break, and not the only thing on the horizon that might affect his bottom line. An aide to former California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has filed a class-action suit against Armstrong because he and many others bought and were fraudulently inspired by his books:

The lawsuit seeks class-action status on behalf of all readers who felt misled by Armstrong's denials of drug use in "It's Not About The Bike," published in 2000, and "Every Second Counts," published three years later.

"Although Stutzman does not buy or read many books, he found Armstrong's book incredibly compelling and recommended the book to several friends," the lawsuit stated.

The lawsuit filed Tuesday says Stutzman met Armstrong when the cyclist visited with Schwarzenegger.

"At that time, Stutzman thanked Defendant Armstrong for writing his book and told him it was very inspiring and that he had recommended it to friends who were fighting cancer," the suit says. "In response, Armstrong thanked Stutzman."

On Monday, we wrote, "We're a few years away from Lance Armstrong being sued to destitution, and signing bike locks with 'I'm sorry I injected EPO,' à la Pete Rose." If Armstrong is barred from professional sporting events and has to pay back the people that bought his books, we may be looking at a few months.

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