Armstrong wins preliminary court ruling

Thursday, June 29, 2006 11.00pm
It is always hard to keep Lance Armstrong out of the news even with the Tour de France beset by turm


Lance Armstrong professed himself "extremely happy" after a High Court judge ruled in the Texan's favour during a preliminary hearing in London over his libel case against The Sunday Times over doping allegations. Judge Charles Gray ruled that any "reasonable reader would have understood [the article]... to mean that Mr Armstrong had taken drugs to enhance his performance in cycling competitions".

The Sunday Times is defending its publication of a review of the book 'LA Confidential, The Secrets of Lance Armstrong' in June 2004. The book was co-written by former Sunday Times writer David Walsh and former L'Equipe writer Pierre Ballester, with the article concerned including allegations that Armstrong had taken performance-enhancing drugs, which Armstrong has consistently denied doing.

Friday's ruling means The Sunday Times will go to trial on November 21 having to defend the position established by Judge Gray and not on the basis that it was simply raising "questions" about his conduct.

"I am extremely happy with today's judgment, which is the latest in a series of consistent rulings in our favour," Armstrong said in a statement. "I always said that the article falsely alleged that I was guilty of doping. The article was based on untrue allegations which are without substance contained in a book published only in France."

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