Andreu: Armstrong is a perpetual liar who destroyed people
Posted January 15, 2013
Frankie Andreu rode with Lance Armstrong during two of Armstrong's since vacated Tour de France wins in 1999 and 2000.
Now, Andreu is waiting to hear the apology from Armstrong after the cyclist turned from his best friend into a perpetual liar who continued to deny his usage of performance enhancing drugs.
Tuesday, Oprah Winfrey confirmed that Armstrong confessed to the accusations that stripped him of his seven Tour titles, lost him most of his endorsements and forced him to leave Livestrong last year after the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency issued a damning, 1,000-page report that accused him of masterminding a long-running doping scheme.
"If Lance can come forward and apologize, to many of the people that he kind of destroyed or made their lives a living hell, I think that would go a long way," said Andreu as he joined Adam Gold & Joe Ovies on 99.9FM The Fan ESPN radio Tuesday. "The first step, although a baby step, in doing the right thing in getting his name back to maybe something that can be accepted to the general public.
"He was a tornado, he was so powerful and influential and if you crossed him, or you didn’t agree to what he was doing, or you asked him the wrong question, he would squash you. He would destroy you and do everything he can to take you out of his path towards success. It’s hard for me to speak about what may happen, until this Oprah Winfrey interview takes place, I have to give him at least a little bit of the benefit of the doubt or a chance to be able to see what he is going to explain. How much is he going to admit, is he going to apologize? I don’t know what’s going to happen."
Armstrong's interview with Winfrey is set to run in two segments, the first to air Thursday.
Andreu and his wife became involved with the doping allegations in against Armstrong in 1996 after the couple heard him tell doctors in an Indianapolis hospital that he had been using performance enhancing drugs.
“A big tipping point is when my wife and I were subpoenaed. I didn’t have a choice, I didn’t want to lie. I didn’t want to go to jail, so I chose to go and tell the truth. That would definitely be the turning point when things started falling apart," said Andreu. "He admitted to some doctors in front of a bunch of people a whole slew of performance enhancing drugs that he was taking and I was really good friends with him back then."
Their close relationship began to fall apart as Andreu began to see Armstrong in a different light. As reports leaked out about Armstrong's possible doping, Andreu continued to see Armstrong greet every accusation with a lie.
"You can’t believe everything he says, this guy’s a perpetual liar. He’s lied to Oprah, he’s lied to Larry King, he’s lied to presidents. He lies about how many tests he’s had, that he’s the most tested athlete," said Andreu. "He keeps saying he was tested 500 times, when he was tested 250 times. He lied about seeing a doctor, who was a famous doping doctor, Dr. Ferrari..."
He got away with a lot as far as doping, where some of the other riders may not have had that kind of information, so it wasn’t a level playing field."
Not only did Armstrong cast a negative light on the sport of cycling, he continued to hurt people around him, friends, fellow cyclers, sponsors and those who supported his organization Livestrong.
"I’ve lost jobs, phone calls weren’t made or Lance Armstrong would make calls and make sure I wasn’t in a certain situation or in a certain race," said Andreu. "In a lot of things, where Lance Armstrong had no control over, the people that were so blind that believed him that supported him no matter what, that put him up on this pedestal, I was the evil one. There was no way they were going to have anything to do with me when all I was doing was saying to tell the truth and to try to have Lance Armstrong stop attacking my wife and I. So it’s been tough. It’s been tough for Lance Armstrong the last couple months but it’s been a very tough road for my wife and I the last 10 years."
Armstrong was stripped of his medals on Oct. 22, but has not admitted to his wrongdoing until his interview with Winfrey, leaving many to ask 'why now' and wonder what will he say.
"I think he had nothing more to grasp onto, the evidence was overwhelming and the public kind of finally woke up. He decided, what I believe, was to finally come clean," said Andreu. "He’s trying to save the last bits of his reputation. If he can do that, I think if he cares at all about the sport of cycling, an admission and kind of speaking of how he got away with it all and learning from the past of what he did could help the sport.
"The key is, is he going to come forward and say how he got away with it? The help that maybe he got from the governing bodies, when the tests were, how often the tests were going to come, how to evade the tests."
It is possible that Armstrong testifies and gives up information on those who helped him but to Andreu, no matter how much information Armstrong gives, he should still be banned for life.
"Not only because of what he did in doping within the sport but with also perpetuating the fraud to the public," said Andreu. "Also the way he destroyed people, he ruined many people’s lives. There are probably a whole slew of people that I don’t even know that I’m sure Lance Armstrong is well aware of.
"Lance has information on everyone. I believe he has information on the UCI which is the governing body, I am sure he has information on ASO who runs the Tour de France. Lance is an information junkie, he’s a control freak, he’s very persuasive. He has a lot of power and he’ll use that power any way he can. I am sure he has information on everyone."
Armstrong dominated the Tour de France for nearly a decade and became a household name for a sport that never had much popularity. But Andreu believes the damage that Armstrong has done now with all the negative publicity has hurt the sport even more than the good he did for it.
"I still don’t trust him and I still don’t believe what everyone is saying and I just need to wait and see what comes out of his mouth," said Andreu.