It was announced today that Lance Armstrong settled the federal fraud case that arose out of Floyd Landis’ whistleblower lawsuit back in 2010. Armstrong has agreed to pay $5 million. Landis gets $1 million of it, plus legal fees.
Armstrong could have been on the hook for up to $100 million. For his various misdeeds over the years, he’s already paid out $15 million in legal fees and $21 million in settlements.
I’m not going to argue the merits of the case. I’m not going to bother with the fact that there was an anti-doping clause in the second contract the team signed with the US Postal Service, that’s rarely mentioned.
What’s striking today is how the first few articles I found on the subject, from The New York Times and The Associated Press had a photo of Amrstrong winning stage 17 of the 2004 Tour de France. Many other news outlets, including CNN, went with nearly identical images. Not only was Armstrong winning, it was also the stage of the 2004 Tour where Landis worked hard for Armstrong, staying with him and the top dogs of the race over the big climbs and even made an attempt to win the stage, though Landis was chased down by Jan Ullrich. The stage showed Armstrong that Landis had the potential to match him, especially since Armstrong and team director Johan Bruyneel had poured Landis’ rest day blood bag literally down a toilet a few days earlier.
Here’s the finish. (TL/DR. Landis got fifth, last in the group. All but one of the finishers ahead of him both won Grand Tours and were caught doping.)
Extra credit irony: It was the 17th stage of the 2006 Tour de France when Landis went on his day-long raid and won the stage,putting him back in contention for the overall. The ride made it possible for him to win the Tour in the final time trial.
Some photo editors have all the fun.