Disgraced cyclist Lance Armstrong has failed in his bid to block a $100m (£79m) lawsuit by the United States government.
The suit alleges that Armstrong defrauded the government by accepting sponsorship money from the US Postal Service (USPS) while using banned performance-enhancing drugs.
Armstrong and his lawyers attempted to halt the suit on the basis USPS suffered no damage and that they gained more value from the sponsorship than the $32.3m they paid. However, on Monday (13 February) a judge ruled that the case should proceed to a trial.
In a written ruling, US District Judge Christopher Cooper said: "Because the government has offered evidence that Armstrong withheld information about the team's doping and use of [performance-enhancing drugs] and that the anti-doping provisions of the sponsorship agreements were material to USPS's decision to continue the sponsorship and make payments under the agreements, the Court must deny Armstrong's motion for summary judgment on this issue," reports USA Today.
The lawsuit was originally filed by Armstrong's former teammate Floyd Landis in 2010. He became a whistleblower after his own doping history was revealed.
Despite the setback for Armstrong, Cooper's 37-page ruling gives the former world champion hope as it includes language that suggests that damages are difficult to quantify. However, Cooper concludes that, ultimately, this is a matter for a jury.
"Should the government prove liability, it will then be up to the jury to weigh the evidence on both sides of the scale and decide whether the government can prove it sustained actual damages and, if so, the corresponding amount," Cooper writes.