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Lance Armstrong, shown here in January as he listens to a question from Oprah Winfrey during taping for the show on which he would confess to doping, says in a new interview that his life now is much simpler, and his No. 1 priority is settling multiple lawsuits spawned by his admission. / George Burns, AP

Lance Armstrong didn't name names in his famous confession to Oprah Winfrey. But when asked about it in a recent lawsuit, he said he believed that one key person had knowledge of his doping conspiracy virtually the whole time ?? Bay Area financier Thomas Weisel, who bankrolled the U.S. Postal Service cycling team.

In a written response to questions in a lawsuit, Armstrong said in November that he believed "Mr. Weisel was aware of doping by the USPS Team and in professional cycling in general," according to court documents filed Thursday.

Weisel, who bankrolled the USPS team, has denied the allegation.

The drumbeat of legal accusations continues for the disgraced cyclist, who said in a new interview with Bicycling magazine writer Joe Lindsey that the long ordeal has taken a toll on him.

After all of his major sponsors fired him last year, Armstrong says he no longer has his Gulfstream jet and instead flies commercial. The federal government also is suing him for fraud on behalf of the USPS and could collect about $100 million in damages from him alone.

"I don't have $100 million," he said. Instead, he hopes to end the lawsuits with a "global settlement" that could include him helping teach young athletes about the dangers of doping. He said settling the lawsuits is "priority No. 1."

Defending himself from fraud lawsuits is a big part of his life now, Armstrong said ?? a life that has changed drastically since the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency released more than 1,000 pages of doping evidence against him in 2012.

Armstrong, after years of vehement denials, finally admitted to doping in an interview with Winfrey in January. He said he has been singled out for his transgressions, perhaps because he "tested positive for being the biggest (jerk) in the world."

"Twelve months ago, 15 months ago, things were pretty hectic, busy," he said in the interview with Lindsey, which was published in ESPN The Magazine . "I was working full time on the [Livestrong] foundation, working full time competing in Ironmans and the training, the travel, sponsor obligations, etc. That took up a lot of time, and now, seemingly, almost overnight that vanished.

"So it just freed up a lot of time and simplified my life. Of course, the other side of that is the ramifications of that, which doesn't take up much of my time but takes up a lot of mental time or time to think about, or to try to negotiate the minefield of lawsuits."

Acceptance Insurance Company had sought to recover $3 million in bonuses paid to Armstrong for winning the Tour de France. To end the suit, Armstrong reached an undisclosed settlement with the company last month, the day before the company was scheduled to question him under oath for the first time since Oprah. Before the settlement with Acceptance, Armstrong had been forced by the company to provide written details about his doping scheme, including details he didn't get into with Oprah.

But Armstrong's written answers have been kept confidential except for what Floyd Landis' attorneys revealed Thursday in their effort to persuade a federal judge that Weisel should remain in the USPS case as a co-defendant. Landis is considered a whistleblower in the USPS suit and stands to get a cut of the damages if the government prevails.

Landis' attorneys stated that "Armstrong also admitted in the interrogatory responses to his own participation in doping (including the use of EPO, testosterone and/or blood transfusions)between 1995 and 2005, except in 1997?"

Asked what would help him earn back trust and quicken the healing process, Armstrong said, "time and I think transparency. And again, I think getting the toxicity of those lawsuit articles out of people's minds."

Follow Brent Schrotenboer on Twitter @Schrotenboer. E-mail: bschrotenb@usatoday.com



Copyright 2014 USATODAY.com

Read the original story: Lance Armstrong flies commercial, battles lawsuits

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