Sunday Times, Lance Armstrong settle suit

The newspaper, David Walsh and Alan English reach a deal ending a suit over Armstrong's "baseless and fraudulent" libel action

LONDON (AFP) — Britain’s Sunday Times said on Sunday it had reached an agreement with Lance Armstrong to settle a lawsuit after the newspaper was forced to pay damages over a report suggesting he had used banned substances.

The paper sued Armstrong for £1 million ($1.55 million) last October when the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) announced it had “overwhelming” evidence of his drug use.

He later confessed to Oprah Winfrey that he had taken performance-enhancing substances.

The seven-time Tour de France winner was awarded £300,000 in 2006 after he sued the paper and journalists Alan English and David Walsh, the latter of whom almost single-handedly uncovered Armstrong’s cheating.

Following the USADA announcement, the paper demanded the return of the money plus £720,000 costs, branding Armstrong’s libel action “baseless and fraudulent.”

The paper reported on Sunday that it, Walsh and English had “reached a mutually acceptable final resolution to all claims against Lance Armstrong related to the 2012 High Court proceedings and are entirely happy with the agreed settlement, the terms of which remain confidential.”

Armstrong said he justified his actions in the years that he won the Tour from 1999 to 2005 because doping was then part of the culture of the sport and he did not believe he could capture cycling’s greatest race without illegal assistance.

He did not see it as cheating, he said, adding: “I viewed it as a level playing field.”