The Sunday Times has successfully negotiated an out of court settlement with former professional road racing cyclist Lance Armstrong in relation to the return of over £1 million in libel damages and costs incurred in 2004.
Nine years ago, the Texas-born athlete sued the newspaper in relation to an article written by David Walsh, which suggested the cyclist had lied and cheated his way to repeated success in the prestigious Tour De France multiple-stage race.
In addition to suing the publication, the 41-year-old also launched legal action against both Mr Walsh and the paper’s former deputy sports editor Alan English.
Two years later, the Sunday Times opted to settle the case, with Armstrong awarded £300,000 in libel damages.
However in the intervening years, an in-depth investigation by the US anti drugs agency revealed that Armstrong had in fact been involved in what was described in 2012 as “the most sophisticated doping conspiracy” ever witnessed in the sport.
The Texan was subsequently stripped of his record-breaking seven Tour De France wins, despite his continued refusal to accept guilt for his actions.
As the pressure began to mount on the one-time sporting icon, there were increasing calls for him to step forward and admit to what had been going on.
This culminated in a special two-part interview with Oprah Winfrey in which Armstrong confessed that the frequent denials and refusal to accept responsibility for doping his way to victory had been part of a shadowy web of lies concocted by the disgraced champion.
In the intervening months, Armstrong has face a barrage of lawsuits and claims from sponsors and other organisations that gave him financial backing and sponsorship deals during his incredible ascendancy to the top of the sport.
Among those to launch such actions were the Sunday Times, which sued for both the money previously paid to Armstrong and a further £720,000 in costs.
That situation looks to have been resolved now, with the paper issuing a statement confirming they had “reached a mutually acceptable final resolution to all claims against Lance Armstrong.”
The figure behind the settlement remains confidential, but it is unlikely to be the last involving the cyclist.
By Chris Stevenson