Justice Department joins fraud lawsuit against Lance Armstrong

In this July 23, 2000, photo, winner Lance Armstrong rides down the Champs Elysees after the final stage of the Tour de France cycling race in Paris. Armstrong also won the Prince of Asturias Award in Sports in 2000. Armstrong was stripped of his seven Tour de France titles and banned for life by cycling's governing body following a report from the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency that accused him of leading a massive doping program on his teams. (AP Photo/Laurent Rebours, File)

In this July 23, 2000, photo, winner Lance Armstrong rides down the Champs Elysees after the final stage of the Tour de France cycling race in Paris. Armstrong also won the Prince of Asturias Award in Sports in 2000. Armstrong was stripped of his seven Tour de France titles and banned for life by cycling's governing body following a report from the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency that accused him of leading a massive doping program on his teams. (AP Photo/Laurent Rebours, File)

WASHINGTON — The Justice Department has joined a lawsuit against disgraced cyclist Lance Armstrong that alleges the former, seven-time Tour de France champion concealed his use of performance-enhancing drugs and defrauded his long-time sponsor, the U.S. Postal Service.

The lawsuit alleges that riders on the postal service-sponsored team, including Armstrong, knowingly violated their agreements with the postal service by regularly using banned substances and methods to enhance their performance.

U.S. Attorney Ronald Machen, whose office is handling the case, said Armstrong and his cycling team took more than $30 million from the postal service based on their contractual promise to play fair and abide by the rules — including rules against doping. Machen said the postal service has now been unfairly associated with a doping program.

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