Ask Greg LeMond, who may be the only clean American to ever win the world’s greatest bicycle race, what happened to his bike company after he called out Armstrong.
Frankie Andreu admitted in 2006 to using EPO, but says he stopped by the 2000 Tour de France. His contract wasn’t renewed to ride the next year, he says, partly because he wouldn’t take an injection for the team. Just this past year, he managed a small American cycling team, which his wife suspects was never invited to the big races because you-know-who pulls so many strings and never forgets a grudge.
“Have I made money? No,” Betsy Andreu said. “Has anybody gotten richer since being honest about what they knew about Lance? No. Lance portrays me as a very homely, crazed, jealous, obsessed [expletive.]”
“Call me obsessive, but don’t ever call me a doormat.”
It’s been 16 years after a woman first heard him say he used.
In hindsight, the cancer-surviving icon can boast of one PED-free accomplishment. It’s a feat that had nothing to do with climbing those French Alps until his muscles almost failed.
No, Lance Armstrong’s greatest feat is that he kept the titles so many years after the people close to him knew. He held off those in pursuit of the truth better than any other elite rider who had his own magic potion waiting for him back in his hotel refrigerator.
So many still want to believe. Why? Because if fables about men dodging death, beating cancer to win the Tour de France seven times aren’t true, what is true? It calls into question our own belief system about the athletic heroes we hoist so high in our minds.
When the medals and trophies are returned, the overriding feeling isn’t “I can’t believe Lance was guilty.” No, it’s “How gullible was I to ever think he was the last clean cyclist?”
Betsy knows there will always be holdovers, believers “so emotionally tied to Lance they will never get it.”
She added: “He did a great thing coming back. No one can ever take that away from him. But just because you have cancer doesn’t mean you’re a saint.”
For Mike Wise’s previous columns, go to washingtonpost.com/wise.