After Armstrong came out of brain surgery to remove a cancerous tumor, this is what she heard and saw that day:
Betsy and her future husband, Frankie Andreu, Armstrong’s teammate and good friend at the time, stood near the bathroom door of a hospital room at the Indiana University Medical Center in Indianapolis. “Lance was at a kind of conference table,” she said by telephone from her home in the Detroit suburbs. “Frankie and I were ready to excuse ourselves when Lance said, ‘That’s all right, you can stay.’ ”
Frankie had lived and trained with Lance in Como, Italy, and trained with him in Austin. He traveled the world cycling right beside Armstrong. Their bond was strong.
After a couple of banal questions by the doctors that day, Armstrong was asked whether he had used PEDs:
“He said, ‘Steroids, testosterone, cortisone, human growth hormone, EPO,’ ” Betsy recalled. “At the time I said, ‘I think we should leave.’ ” Once outside the room, she spun around and got in Frankie’s face: “If you’re doing that [expletive], I’m not marrying you,” she said. “That’s what gave him his cancer.”
To the millions in the Livestrong-for-Lance caravan, a never-ending peloton of enablers wearing yellow rubber bracelets, Betsy and Frankie have been at the forefront of the crazies.
Since they were deposed by lawyers in a long-ago lawsuit and related that story, they joined dozens of other former Armstrong teammates and accusers over the years as hateful vermin. Their only mission in life, to the Lance crusaders, is to be bring down a Texas-sized American hero, who himself has said Betsy just misinterpreted the question doctors were asking that day. Frankie backed up Betsy — Armstrong said when he was deposed — “to protect his old lady.”
I never believed Lance, who purportedly never failed a drug test. (Neither did Barry Bonds.) I’ve always believed Betsy.
I believed former teammate Tyler Hamilton, who had no reason to lie to federal investigators or “60 Minutes” last year when he said Armstrong put syringes and pills in his body to help him win. And I believed Hamilton when he said that he actually got the blood-boosting drug EPO in the mail from Armstrong, and that Hamilton would have done the same for his teammate if he had asked.
I believe USADA, a 12-year-old organization that Armstrong’s agent actually helped advise during its infancy when Bill Stapleton wanted to catch the cheaters. USADA has test results of Armstrong’s fully consistent with blood doping — and 10 witnesses to back up those claims. Armstrong’s masking agents, USADA believes, were undetectable for years. I believe USADA for the exact opposite reason Travis Tygart, the head of USADA, and his do-gooder lab rats are being vilified by the Livestrong faction: