Will Lance Armstrong’s years of cheating leave him bankrupt?

After settling his 10-year lawsuit with SCA Promotions, we take a look at the financial toll of the disgraced cyclist’s deceitful ways.

James Reynolds October 5, 2015

Lance Armstrong has been channelling the spirit of his astronaut namesake recently. Last week, he took one small step to cleaning the slate of his dark doping past, settling a 10-year long lawsuit with his former sponsor SCA Promotions, for an unconfirmed sum of $10 million.

But, the American still faces one giant leap as he takes on further legal disputes with Nike and the federal government – on behalf the U.S. Postal service – in what could see Armstrong left bankrupt.

During his victorious reign, Armstrong’s partnership with SCA Promotions earned him $10 million in bonuses from three of his Tour de France victories, between 1999 and 2005.

In a statement released after the lawsuit was settled, Armstrong said: “I am pleased to have this matter behind me, and I look forward to moving on… I do wish to personally apologise to SCA and its CEO, Bob Hamman, for any past misconduct on my part in connection with our dispute and the resulting arbitration.”

The disgraced cyclist has already settled three other legal cases, of much smaller monetary value, including one with The Sunday Times, after he sued them for $1 million in 2006. The paper had claimed he was using performance-enhancing drugs.

The infamous cyclist hasn’t found life easy since he admitted, on the Oprah Winfrey Show back in 2013, to taking performance-enhancing drugs during the seven-year period he won his fame. The confession of course came after years of furious denial. 

Armstrong may have thought that his life would get easier after his televised admission of guilt. But his financial battles only seem to be deepening, and at a costly price.

Despite settling various cases already, Armstrong still faces a heavyweight battle, which could leave him penniless if the Federal Government’s $30 million civil fraud suit (with penalties it could rise to $100 million) proves successful. 

The lawsuit was issued on the grounds that Armstrong breached his contracts with both the U.S. Postal Service and Nike, over his doping antics.

But the cyclist argues that both companies were able to access public information that revealed he was doping, and that it was the financial benefit felt from his success that resulted in them turning a blind eye to the situation.

In recent developments, U.S. district judge Marco Hernandez has provided the former cyclist with a lifeline, declaring that Nike must disclose information on communications between the sportswear company and Armstrong, which could reveal whether or not the company knew about the doping.

That would then destroy the grounds of any lawsuit against the shamed rider, and save him from a huge financial pay out.

Armstrong will be hoping for such a scenario. He was quoted two years ago saying: “I don’t have $100 million.” With very little chance of that changing anytime soon, it is possible the financial toll of his notorious cheating will eventually leave the former cyclist bankrupt.