25 June 2006

Lance’s drug use

I’m not exactly a big fan of Lance Armstrong, but after his wins, I had hoped that he somehow wasn’t as dirty as the rest of the sport of cycling.

According to a report on NPR, that hope may be too much. Frankie and Betsy Andreu, former friends of Armstrong’s (and Frankie’s a cycling commentator for OLN), testified that they heard Armstrong admit to use of banned substances:

According to sworn testimony reviewed by NPR, two witnesses heard Armstrong openly acknowldege in 1996 that had used several performance enhancing drugs. What you are about to hear are the details from that testimony and from one witnesses who says she was there when Lance Armstrong said he used “growth hormone, cortisone, EPO, steroids and testosterone.” Armstrong is angrily denying that the incident happened….

In her sworn testimony in that case, Betsy Andreu recounts what happened after, she says, two doctors, wearing white coats and name tags, walked into the hospital room. Andreu never identified the doctors, but says in her testimony they were not Armstrong’s two primary oncologists, or his brain surgeon.

In her deposition, Betsy Andreu testified:

I said, I think we should leave to give you your privacy. I said that to Lance. And Lance said, that’s OK. You can stay. And I turned to Frankie and I said, I think we should leave. And Frankie said, no, Lance said it’s OK. We can stay. And so the doctor asked him a few questions, not many, and then one of the questions he asked was… have you ever used any performance-enhancing drugs? And Lance said yes. And the doctor asked, what were they? And Lance said, growth hormone, cortisone, EPO, steroids and testosterone.

When asked last week about her testimony, Betsy Andreu said, “I answered every question truthfully and honestly. It is 100 percent truthful.”

…But according to Andreu’s testimony, Armstrong came back to the issue last year when he called Frankie Andreu just a few days before Andreu was deposed. In his deposition, Frankie Andreu is asked “is it your testimony that Mr. Armstrong called you and said it was his recollection, that the hospital incident never took place or didn’t happen the way you’ve recollected?” Andreu answers, “Yes. Correct.”

The deposition continues:

QUESTION: What did you say to him when he said that?

ANDREU: I remained quiet.

QUESTION: Did you consider it odd that he was telling you about the hospital incident?

Andreu interrupts and says, “I considered it odd that he even called me, because I hadn’t spoken with Lance in probably two and a half years.”

And I can’t say that there seems a reason that NPR could find for the Andreus to do this, unless it seemed like the truth prevailed.

Armstrong is asked if he can help explain why Betsy Andreu would make up a story about the hospital room. Armstrong says he has no idea, other than “she hates me.”

“Lance and I used to be good friends,” Betsy Andreu told NPR. “I would go to his house and I would cook for him; I would talk to him on the phone about baby questions; I used to go out to dinner with Frankie and Lance and Kristin, often.” Kristin was Armstrong’s first wife. Betsy Andreu acknowledges that over the years, her friendship with Lance Armstrong soured. But she says that doesn’t mean she would do something, in her words, so reprehensible as make up a story about the hospital room. “I’m sorry that it upsets him so much that I refuse to lie under oath. I was always going to tell the truth,” she said.

I know that people often want to take down a champion, but I don’t see an obvious motive for the Andreus, especially considering how he was a big booster of Lance as a commentator.

Posted in OnTheWeb on 25 June 2006 at 11:05 am by Nate