SAN FRANCISCO, Sept. 25 (UPI) -- Cyclist Lance Armstrong said the U.S. government -- a sponsor of his cycling team -- should have known he was doping, but the government argued it was deceived.
In a motion to dismiss a civil fraud lawsuit against him by the government, Armstrong said the U.S. Postal Service, which sponsored his Tour de France-winning team from 1998 to 2004 for $40 million, should have known all along he was using performance-enhancing drugs to win.
He said the government "wanted a winner" and "got what it bargained for" when it sponsored him even after doping allegations arose.
The government fired back Monday, filing an argument saying it "did not get a 'winner,' " USA Today reported.
"On the contrary, it got a fraud, and all of the publicity and exposure that goes along with having sponsored a fraud. That is decidedly not what the government bargained for. The United States should have an opportunity to recover damages for the money that it paid in reliance on Armstrong's many lies," the filing said.
"Now that he is being called to account for the damage he caused, Armstrong contends that his deceit should have been clear to everyone all along," the government wrote. "In particular, he argues that the USPS should have known he was cheating as early as 2000 and, therefore, the government may no longer seek to recover for the losses it suffered as a result of his lies. But the postal service, like millions of others, cannot be faulted for having been deceived by Armstrong."
USPS began its sponsorship of Armstrong's team in 1995 and renewed it through 2004.
Armstrong was stripped of his Tour de France titles last year and in January admitted to doping. Major sponsors have canceled their deals with him and he has been banned from cycling for life.