Skip to comments.Victims of Lance Armstrong's strong-arm tactics feel relief and vindication.....
Posted on 01/15/2013 10:10:24 AM PST by doug from upland
Victims of Lance Armstrong's strong-arm tactics feel relief and vindication in the wake of U.S. Anti-Doping Agency report
The evidence published this month by USADA shows that Armstrong and his cronies possessed a cynical assuredness that their yellow wristbands entitled them to smash anyone who threatened their corrupt regime.
By Teri Thompson , Nathaniel Vinton , Michael O'keeffe AND Christian Red / NEW YORK DAILY NEWS Published: Saturday, October 20, 2012, 10:34 PM Updated: Friday, October 26, 2012, 11:10 AM
Lance Armstrong's intimidation tactics are chronicled by many teammates. Mike Hutchings/Reuters
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Doping might sometimes be a victimless crime, but not in the case of Lance Armstrong, whose drug abuse and illicit blood transfusions created a phony empire of wealth, adulation and power that had to be protected at all costs.
The Armstrong myth was so lucrative that suppressing the truth came to require an endless behind-the-scenes campaign to bully and intimidate people into silence. Some of it bordered on gangsterism. Some of it was dressed up in the respectable wardrobe of elite law firms. But mostly it was just hot air - a fact that by 2010 had become clear enough to Floyd Landis that he stepped up and burst the bubble, blowing the whistle on the whole big fraud.
In 2008, when the Daily News started reporting in earnest on the growing evidence that Armstrong had cheated, we found that paranoia struck deep in the cycling world. Its a small industry, and Armstrong was a transcendent figure, so powerful inside his sport that people feared for their livelihoods and reputations if they crossed him.
RELATED: CYCLE OF DECEIT - TIMELINE OF LANCE ARMSTRONG'S FALL
Four years later, its easier for the wider world to see why. The evidence published this month by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency shows that Armstrong and his cronies possessed a cynical assuredness that their yellow wristbands entitled them to smash anyone who threatened their corrupt regime.
But its also already becoming harder for the world to see how lonely and painful it was for people in cycling to stand up and resist Armstrongs Machiavellian tactics. Now its trendy to be an accuser its the stuff of bestsellers, not defamation complaints. But if you took on that role during the peak of Armstrongs Tour de France dominance you might be vilified, accused of being jealous, drunk, unpatriotic, mentally disturbed.
A lot of times Armstrong himself didnt have to lift a finger. Enough people were invested in his lies that they became foot soldiers in his deceptions. We published on our website a voicemail where an Armstrong friend a representative of one of his most loyal sponsors tells one of his accusers, Betsy Andreu, the wife of a former Armstrong teammate, that she hopes somebody breaks a baseball bat over (her) head. We published transcripts of a deposition in which Armstrongs ex-wife isnt allowed to answer questions about Armstrong and doping because Armstrongs lawyer wont allow her to.
Those were among well over 100 stories the Daily News published in the past four and a half years directly or tangentially related to Armstrong and doping. The point wasnt to determine who really deserved to wear a yellow spandex T-shirt on the Champs-Elysé es; it was about getting peoples stories out in the open in the marketplace of information that Armstrong seemed to so thoroughly regulate.
Slowly, those who Armstrong bullied and intimidated began to be heard. The consistent, credible claims of Frankie and Betsy Andreu and Greg and Kathy LeMond, the dogged reporting of journalists like David Walsh and the French newspaper LEquipes Damien Ressiot, Floyd Landis whistleblowing emails in 2010, a federal grand jury probe and a U.S. Anti-Doping Agency investigation all gave others cover to tell the truth.
These are some of their stories.
GREG and KATHY LEMOND By the summer of 2001, Dr. Michele Ferrari, described in the USADA report as the architect of the U.S. Postal Service teams doping program, was becoming a problem for Lance Armstrong.
The Sunday Times of London published a story by David Walsh that year about Armstrongs ties to Ferrari, who was about to go on trial in Italy for sporting fraud because he had allegedly provided performance-enhancing drugs to athletes. Comments by three-time Tour de France winner Greg LeMond who said he was disappointed with Armstrong for associating with the controversial doctor especially galled Armstrong, according to an affidavit by Frankie Andreu included in USADAs report. LANCE21S_3_WEB Hagen, Kevin Freelance NYDN/Freelance, NYDN Three-time Tour de France winner Greg LeMond.
I recall Lance saying words to the effect of, Who does Greg think he is, talking about Ferrari? Im going to take him down, Andreu says in the affidavit. During this conversation, Lance never denied or disputed performance-enhancing drugs but criticized LeMond for criticizing him.
That summer, LeMond has said, Armstrong told him during a telephone conversation that he could find 10 people who would vow that LeMond recognized as the only American to win the Tour de France, now that Armstrong and Floyd Landis have been stripped of their titles because of doping had used EPO. He received calls from associates who warned him not to further cross Armstrong.
Even more frightening, LeMonds wife Kathy has said, was Armstrongs offer to pay $300,000 to one of her husbands former teammates to claim that he had seen LeMond use the oxygen-boosting drug. The teammate declined the offer.
It shows how desperate Lance was, Kathy LeMond says. It is a huge example of what a bully Lance Armstrong is. He crosses lines no others will cross.
LeMond reportedly issued an apology for his comments about Armstrong and Ferrari a month after Walshs article was published, but his wife told The News last week that the apology was written and released by Trek Bicycle, the company that had manufactured LeMond bicycles since the 1990s but was also a premier Armstrong sponsor. LeMond has alleged that Armstrong pressured Trek president John Burke to muzzle him. LeMond sued Trek in 2008 for breach-of-contract, and Trek countersued. The litigation was ultimately settled out of court.
Kathy LeMond says her family is gratified that USADA has vindicated Greg with its exhaustive report detailing Armstrongs sophisticated doping scheme, but they are disappointed that so many people who knew the truth remained silent while Armstrong and his camp retaliated against her husband.
These people who came forward and acknowledged that they doped are getting this forgiveness for telling the truth, but it is easy to tell the truth now, she says. Where were they when Lance was threatening Greg?
She calls Frankie Andreu extraordinary because he acknowledged he used drugs years ago and refused to toe Armstrongs line. I am very impressed with Frankie and Betsy, she says. They are ballsy people.
There is no joy in this for us, adds Kathy LeMond. It is sad that this sport has been taken to this low of a level. There were hundreds of people who turned a blind eye.
BETSY AND FRANKIE ANDREU Betsy Andreu woke up to a pair of disturbing voicemails in the spring of 2008. The messages were from Stephanie McIlvain, a close friend of Armstrongs who worked for one of his sponsors, the Oakley eyewear company.
Abusive and histrionic, tapes of the voicemails were the culmination of years of threats and intimidation tactics Armstrong had used against the Andreus.
I hope somebody breaks a baseball bat over your head, McIlvain tells Andreu in the first message. I also hope that one day you have adversity in your life and you have some type of tragedy that will definitely make an impact on you. Betsy Andreu Betsy & Frankie Andreu - Courtesy of Betsy Andreu
The following day McIlvain left another message for Andreu, apologizing for the first voicemail and blaming it on two bottles of wine but making it clear the long friendship between the two women was over.
I wish you the best of luck, but I dont know, McIlvain says in the second message. Youre trying to destroy one persons life. And the whole just of it youre trying to destroy a lot of peoples life.
The tapes, published by The News in 2010, became part of the aborted federal investigation into Armstrong. Andreu said she shared the tapes to illustrate what she and her husband were facing for testifying against Armstrong in a 2005 arbitration case.
I wanted to show what kind of treatment we were getting, Andreu told The News. When I got those phone calls, I was worried on one hand and disgusted on the other.
There had been a time when they were all friends: Armstrong and Frankie Andreu had become close when they were both on the Motorola cycling team during the 1990s, while Armstrongs then-spouse, Kristin, frequently shopped and dined with Betsy.
That friendship began to unravel in October of 1996 when Frankie and Betsy, then engaged, traveled to Armstrongs Indianapolis hospital room to provide comfort and support after the cylist was diagnosed with testicular cancer.
During that hospital visit, the Andreus say they overheard Armstrong tell doctors that he has used performance-enhancing drugs, including testosterone, human growth hormone and EPO. It was the first time that Betsy learned that Armstrong and his teammates had used banned substances, and she was deeply disturbed by the news, worried that the drug use had fueled Armstrongs cancer.
Im not f****** marrying you if youre doing that s***, she told Frankie, the man she was scheduled to marry two months later, according to an affidavit she provided to USADA. Thats how he got his cancer.
Frankie vowed he would not use performance-enhancing drugs, and the couple married on Dec. 31, 1996. But under pressure from Armstrong who urged him to get serious about the sport Frankie used EPO in preparation for the 1999 Tour de France. When Betsy found a thermos containing EPO in the refrigerator of their home in Nice, she urged Frankie to quit Armstrongs team.
The Andreus and the Armstrongs remained friends, at least until 2003, when Irish journalist David Walsh, the author of groundbreaking books and articles about Armstrongs doping, contacted the Andreus seeking information about Armstrong and the Indiana hospital incident. Word got back to Armstrong.
The tension between Armstrong and the Andreus exploded after 2006, when the couple was forced to testify in a contract dispute between Armstrong and a company called SCA Promotions, which had withheld a multi-million dollar bonus from Armstrong over allegations of doping. Both Andreus say they testified that they had heard Armstrong tell his physicians that he had used performance-enhancing drugs.
Armstrong, in his own SCA deposition, denied he had made the admission. But when asked why the Andreus would make up the story, his sworn testimony was vague. Betsy lied, he said, because she hates me. Frankie sided with his wife, the cyclist added, because he was trying to back up his old lady.
Armstrongs camp later claimed that the Andreus were bitter because Frankies contract with the Postal Service was not renewed after the 2000 season, although the USADA report concludes that Armstrong had urged Frankie in an email to return to the team in 2001.
Andreu served as the assistant team director that year and in 2002, and the couples continued to travel together in Europe after Frankie retired from racing.
This evidence provides a strong indication that Armstrong intentionally vilified a longtime friend and his friends wife merely to protect himself, USADA concluded.
The break with Armstrong turned out to be a bad career move for Frankie.
From having been in professional cycling for so long I was well aware of many incidents where those who spoke about doping too much were ostracized and found it difficult to retain a job in the sport, he says in his USADA affidavit. He goes on to say that he has been told that my public disputes with Lance Armstrong have made it more difficult for others in the cycling industry to work with me because they fear reprisal from Lance and his associates. I have never sought to bring Lance down or cause him harm. I have only sought to tell the truth.
Betsy says shes proud of her husband for standing up to the man who led what USADA calls the most sophisticated doping scheme in sports history.
This has been a great lesson for our kids, says Betsy, the mother of three children. The truth matters. Dont give in to bullies. Dont do something wrong, even if everyone else is doing it. The choices you make have consequences.
EMMA OREILLY The glowing customer reviews on The Body Clinics website include one from former Olympic cyclist Victoria Pendleton, in which the British native extols Body Clinic massage therapist Emma OReilly.
The praise is a far cry from the blistering reviews of OReilly by one of her former clients Lance Armstrong. In 1996, long before she began to make a quiet living at The Body Clinic, located about 10 miles from Manchester, England, OReilly was hired as a soigneur for the U.S. Postal cycling team. LANCE21S_17_WEB MICHEL SPINGLER/AP U.S. Postal Service team masseur Emma O'Reilly.
According to the USADA report, OReilly was well-respected by the cyclists, a benefit that afforded her a front seat into the sports doping culture. She testified about Armstrongs doping in 1998 and 1999. According to the USADA report, OReilly helped Armstrong cover up bruising from an injection before the 1999 Tour de France, the first of Armstrongs record seven consecutive titles. During that same Tour, Armstrong tested positive for corticosteroids.
OReilly, according to the USADA report, was in the room when Armstrong and other team officials developed a plan to circumvent the positive test: a team doctor, Luis Garcia del Moral, would backdate a prescription for cortisone cream and Armstrong would claim it was used to treat saddle sores.
Afterward, Armstrong told OReilly, Now, Emma, you know enough to bring me down.
Her responsibilities expanded to include transporting drugs for cyclists and getting rid of the evidence, according to her affidavit.
Dismayed by the doping culture in the sport, OReilly resigned from her U.S. Postal job in 2000. It wasnt until 2003, when she was paid to help with the book, L.A. Confidential: The Secrets of Lance Armstrong, written by Walsh and Pierre Ballester and published in 2004, that she began to experience the wrath of Armstrong. He sued OReilly for libel in the wake of the books publication and attacked her credibility.
Once my involvement in the (book) project became known, Lance wasted no time attacking me and my reputation, OReilly said in her affidavit. Lance also tried to discredit me by publicly referring to me as a prostitute and an alcoholic. The lawsuits against me were dropped or settled in 2006, but the damage Lance caused to my reputation still remains.
OReilly has received an outpouring of support via Twitter in the last two weeks, something that has bolstered her outlook on her future. I would like to say a massive heartfelt thanks to all of you who have tweeted your support to me Ive been so touched & heartened by you all, she tweeted Thursday.
THE TEAMMATES According to the USADA report, the former teammates who were discouraged not to testify or intimidated went well beyond Frankie Andreu. They included George Hincapie, who rode with Armstrong in all seven of his Tour de France victories and who was asked by Armstrong to remain in Europe to avoid or delay testifying.
Instead, Hincapie told of two incidents when Armstrong provided him with EPO; Filippo Simeoni, told by Armstrong at the Tour de France in 2004, You made a mistake when you testified about (Armstrongs former doctor Michele) Ferrari. . I can destroy you. Armstrong then made a zip the lips sign caught on video; Jonathan Vaughters, whose text messages to Frankie Andreu about doping on the U.S. Postal team became an exhibit in the SCA case, and whose career was threatened; Floyd Landis, accused of being a liar and unstable once he testified about Armstrongs doping; Tyler Hamilton, whose book The Secret Race detailing the hidden world of doping was released this summer, and who was physically accosted in 2011 by Armstrong in an Aspen restaurant after he began cooperating with law enforcement.
According to Hamiltons testimony, Armstrong told him, When youre on the witness stand, we are going to f------ tear you apart. You are going to look like a f------ idiot. Im going to make your life a living . . . f------ hell. LANCE21S_10_WEB JOEL SAGET/AFP/Getty Images Tyler Hamilton.
Levi Leipheimer felt the hammer, too. Shortly after he testified before a grand jury in October of 2010 about his own doping as well as Armstrongs, Leipheimer was seated next to the Texan and seven-time Tour de France champion at a dinner.
According to the USADA report, Armstrong texted Leipheimers wife, Odessa Gunn, with the ominous message, run dont walk.
The USADA report says that Armstrong had not communicated with Gunn for several years, and that she felt the text was threatening.
Leipheimer said he felt ostracized when he was a member of the RadioShack cycling team which Armstrong had helped found during the 2011 season. Leipheimer, a former teammate of Armstrongs on U.S. Postal, said he heard comments from team employees that included, I never forget. One day I will pay back, and that the teams director, Johan Bruyneel, said RadioShack would not re-sign Leipheimer because he testified to the grand jury in the Lance Armstrong investigation. LANCE21S_5_WEB Ezra Shaw/Getty Images Levi Leipheimer.
THE DEFENDANTS If youre finding it difficult to sympathize with those including many reporters who cowed before the threats of Armstrongs army of white-shoe lawyers and high-end agents and publicists, consider that Armstrong was probably the most litigious athlete in the history of sports.
He set a precedent for other athletes who would go on to use guerilla tactics to attempt to intimidate the media or silence accusers.
As the Daily News wrote in 2008, Armstrong unleashed a shotgun blast of litigation at virtually everyone involved with L.A. Confidential: Les Secrets de Lance Armstrong. Just as the book was hitting shelves in Europe, Armstrong sued the authors, the publisher, the sources (including Emma OReilly), a magazine that ran an excerpt, and the Sunday Times of London, the British newspaper that ran a preview of the book. Armstrong announced the suit at a splashy Maryland press conference on June 15, 2004, then quietly dropped it in 2005, withdrawing his claims before a trial could begin, a tactic similar to the ones athletes Roger Clemens and Shane Mosley would later use against their own accusers.
In France, we say it had leffet dannonce, Paris attorney Thibault de Montbrial, who defended the books publisher and authors, told The News. He makes the announcement, but when the emotion goes away, no one realizes that he didnt go to court.
Armstrongs message was heard: his army of lawyers effectively scared away American publishers from translating the French-language book.
In a sense, it was an effective play, Walsh said then. The American publishers were frightened. Why would you take on a book that you knew was being sued in France?
Armstrong had also filed a bevy of suits in France and even initiated a special emergency hearing with a French court in Paris, where he tried to get a disclaimer inserted into the book calling its allegations defamatory. The judge sided with the publishers, hitting Armstrong with a small fine for abusing the French legal system.
Our lawyer told the judge it would be the death of investigative journalism, Walsh said. It would have been very convenient for all the rogues of the world to ignore uncomfortable questions and then just silence their accusers afterwards.
Armstrong withdrew all of his French defamation cases shortly before they were to go to trial in the fall of 2005.
Now, the Sunday Times is considering fighting back. Following the release of the USADA report, the paper said it is considering taking action to recover money spent on a libel case Armstrong brought and to pursue him for fraud.
If Armstrong finds himself worried about how the other defendants in his many lawsuits are viewing the USADA report, it would certainly be understandable.
Perhaps hes afraid theyll sue.
In a few years, he will be on the circuit supporting gay marriage, abortion, gun control, and disarmament.........and will be elected somewhere by RAT voters.
His sins will be public knowledge.
I hope everyone understands what a POS this guy is, and the bullying he has done of others, for nearly 20 years, when has his crying jag and blubbers for forgiveness and redemption.
I won't be holding my breath waiting for apologies from all those here who condemned the French for accusing Armstrong of doping.
It is comforting to know that the bicyclist’s icon has the same ethics an morals as the Marxist progressives Critical Mass criminals.
And all this over grown boys riding their bicycles. Oh my!
I,for one, refused to buy his book at Radio hack mor otherwise applaud the fraud.Something just never felt right about his total dominance of the Tour De France.
Of course there will be those who say “if you’re not cheating ,you’re not trying hard enough”
I despise cheaters.If you want the honors of the game then play by the rules.And don’t whine when you lose all your titles once you’re caught cheating.
I hope he is totally broke and homeless in a couple of years.
What a despicable human being.
Know what the toughest job in the world is?
Finding a clean winner for 7 vacated Tour de France titles. Could be its someone that dropped out on the second day of tour.
The bicyclist has the same ethics as all too many sports and political figures:win the race no matter what rules you break.
And millions adore the cheaters,ignoring the dirty tactics.
It doesn’t bother me one bit that certain ballplayers didn’t get into the Hall of Fame,actually there are a few there whop ought to be removed now that the truth of their dirty cheating is known.
If the penalties were actually severe enough ;like lifetime bans for corked bats, razor-sharp spikes, deliberate pitches to the head,deliberate tackles designed to cause injury,deliberate car collisions,etc,etc.
But then I think the sports’ public actually like and want blood,pain, and “anything goes” if it means “their” team wins.
When I screened HILLARY! UNCENSORED in Feb. 2008 at George Washington University, I had a conversation with a guy who was a PI with the firm that intimidated Kathleen Willey. He left the firm because he didn’t want to participate. We can and should condemn Armstrong for his intimidation. But what about Kathleen Willey’s dead cat and slashed tires? What about a jogger coming up to her a week before she was scheduled to testify in the Paula Jones case, showing her pictures of her children, and saying “Don’t you get it yet?”
Impeachment was not about an intern. It was about perjury, suborning perjury, hiding evidence, using government resources to cover up what he did, and intimidating witnesses. The lives of Willey’s children were threatened. But the Dems still love their despicable scumbag. Being a Democrat is a mental disease.
Wonder how much of the Livestrong money went to cover up his cheating?
The media also is responsible for perpetuating the fraud...they spent a lot of time pushing Armstrong and not checking out the claims...especially from the LeMonds
Hopefully this will be the end of those faggy yello bracelets and obnoxious cyclists in gay spandex riding in front of your car
He is going to end up destitute and possibly imprisoned, and deservedly so.
In addition to being a fraud, he used lawyers and courts to silence people who tried to tell the truth about him, perjuring himself at every step.
He’ll never be able to pay all the judgments that are coming against him.
Goodbye Cycling. You want names? Lance is going to burn down the “house”. Look for several standing Tour de Farce Chumpions to have their wins vacated. Can you say Alberto Contador and others. Get the popcorn ready.
30.6 Million x 3
Everytime I posted what a jerk he was and how he's not liked much in Austin, I got flamed. Geez, the horrible things they posted about his ex. Well, neener neener. No, I'm not going to hold my breath waiting for apologies.