'Betrayed' readers sue Lance Armstrong for book refund

Jan 24, 2013, 22:37 IST | A Correspondent

Couple of readers who bought the disgraced cyclist's autobiographies 'It's Not About the Bike' and 'Every Second Counts' want their money back

Disgraced cyclist Lance Armstrong is facing a class-action lawsuit from readers of his autobiography who want their money back after his doping confession.

The 41-year-old Texan spent years vehemently denying the cheating allegations and even suing publications, but recently confessed, in a televised interview with Oprah Winfrey, to taking illicit drugs to win races.

The shamed cyclist, who was stripped of his seven Tour de France titles and his Olympic bronze medal over the doping scandal, is now facing a lawsuit, along with his publishers, from fans who bought his 2000 book “It's Not About the Bike: My Journey Back to Life” as well as 2003 follow-up, “Every Second Counts".

The lawsuit, filed at a federal court in Sacramento, California, accuses Armstrong of fraud and false advertising for marketing the books as works of fact, rather than fiction, according to CNN.com..

lance Armstrong
A stencil graffiti depicting disgraced cyclist Lance Armstrong in a yellow jersey, the traditional garb of the seven-time Tour De France winner, attached to an IV drip is pictured on the side of a building in Los Angeles, California. Pic/AFP 

The suit says the books were sold "based upon the false belief that they were true and honest works of nonfiction when, in fact, defendants knew or should have known that these books were works of fiction."

"Throughout the book, Defendant Armstrong repeatedly denies that he ever used banned substances before or during his professional cycling career," the suit said.

One of the plaintiffs is Rob Stutzman, who worked as Arnold Schwarzenegger's deputy chief of staff while he was Governor of California. The other plaintiff in the suit is Jonathan Wheeler, a chef and amateur cyclist.

Stutzman and Wheeler have said that they felt "duped," "cheated" and "betrayed" by the realisation that the books, marketed as inspirational true-life memoirs, were replete with fabrications.

The plaintiffs are demanding "statutorily permissible damages, attorneys' fees, expenses and costs."

Interestingly, an Australian library had recently found itself in the spotlight after it put up a sign declaring all books by Armstrong would soon be moved to the fiction section.

The notice posted by a part-time staffer at Manly Library read: "All non-fiction Lance Armstrong books, including 'Lance Armstrong: Images of a Champion', 'The Lance Armstrong Performance Program' and 'Lance Armstrong: The World's Greatest Champion' will soon be moved to the fiction section".

The sign, which has since been taken down, concluded with a smiley face.

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