Insurer Sues Lance Armstrong After Oprah Winfrey Comments

PHOTO: Lance Armstrong and Oprah WinfreyRiccardo S. Savi/Getty Images|Ray Tamarra/Getty Images
Lance Armstrong is shown in Aspen, Colo., Aug. 25, 2012, and Oprah Winfrey is outside the ABC Times Square Studios in New York, Oct. 25, 2012.

Lance Armstrong's interview with Oprah Winfrey has prompted a Nebraska insurance company to sue him for $3 million, plus damages, in connection to payments it allegedly made to him more than 10 years ago, sources say.

Acceptance Insurance Co. covered the bonuses on Armstrong's Tour de France wins from 1999 to 2001. The suit was filed late Thursday in Austin, Texas, where the Lance Armstrong Foundation is based.

Another company, sports-insurance firm SCA Promotions, previously filed suit to recoup millions more in bonus money from later Tour wins. Unlike SCA, however, Acceptance had never raised any red flags and remained quiet.

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But Armstrong's January interview with Winfrey prompted Acceptance to go public, and opened the door for the carrier to go after him as well, according to the sources.

Armstrong's admission of "fraudulent concealment" during the interview -- that he threatened and bullied to such an extent that Acceptance could not have known the truth in a timely fashion -- convinced Acceptance to revisit the old payments, the sources said.

Armstrong's lawyer has not returned a request for comment.

Armstrong 'Left It All on the Table' With Winfrey

Tailwind Sports, the ownership company that ran Armstrong's U.S. Postal Service cycling team, had financial incentives set up so that Armstrong could make millions by winning the Tour. The bonuses were insured and paid by insurance companies: Acceptance, then later SCA.

Money aside, according to the sources, Acceptance plans to depose Armstrong. Sources believe he will resist testifying under oath, fearing more liability, possibly including criminal.

The disgraced cyclist is also facing the prospect of being deposed in a slew of other pending cases, many of which he has tried and failed to settle out of court.

With the addition of the Acceptance suit, Armstrong is now potentially on the hook for more than $100 million from the various civil cases on file.

Armstrong, 41, was stripped of his seven Tour de France titles and banned from the sport for life by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency in October 2012, after allegations that he benefited from years of systematic doping, using banned substances and receiving illicit blood transfusions.

The agency issued a 200-page report Oct. 10 after a wide-scale investigation into Armstrong's alleged use of performance-enhancing substances.

Armstrong won the Tour de France from 1999 to 2005.