A federal judge on Monday cleared the way for a USA government lawsuit seeking almost $100million (£80m) in damages from disgraced former professional cyclist Lance Armstrong to go to trial, according to court papers.
As first reported by U.S. Today, the decision was made by U.S. district judge Christopher Cooper who sided with the federal government after Armstrong's lawyers asked Cooper to throw out the case with a summary judgment ruling.
Mr Armstrong's former US Postal Service teammate, Floyd Landis, could collect up to 25% after he filed the lawsuit.
Initially filed by Landis, the federal government "joined in 2013 after Armstrong publicly admitted he cheated to win the Tour de France seven times from 1999-2005", reports ABC News.
The US justice department has accused Armstrong of defrauding the government by accepting millions of dollars of sponsorship money from the US postal service, while engaged in secret, systematic doping.
He finally admitted doping in January 2013 during an interview on the Oprah Winfrey show.
Armstrong and the other defendants asked for the lawsuit to be dismissed, arguing the court should adopted a "benefit-of-the-bargain" approach to calculating damages in the case because the actual value of the services they supplied to the USPS are hard to determine.
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Armstrong was said to have run "the most sophisticated doping scheme in sport" by the United States anti-doping agency.
Armstrong'attorneys had argued in his defense saying that USPS suffered no damages and in fact received far more positive value from the $32.3 million in sponsorship money it paid.
Lance Armstrong shocked his fans when it was discovered that he had been doping in order to win his cycling awards.
Landis, himself a former Tour victor caught cheating, would be entitled to up to 25 percent of any money recovered.
Eliot Peters, an attorney for Armstrong, did not immediately respond to a request for comment. "So the government may now proceed to a trial that, as a practical matter, it can not win".
They are accused of doing so by collecting sponsorship from the US Postal Service (USPS) "while actively concealing the team's violations of the agreements" anti-doping provisions'.
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