The Women Who Unraveled the Lance Armstrong Doping Scandal

ABC News
The Women Who Unraveled the Lance Armstrong Doping Scandal
.

View photo

The Women Who Unraveled the Lance Armstrong Doping Scandal (ABC News)

Behind the riders, the drugs and the secrets there were the women.

And they made choices, too, choices that may have set in motion the unraveling of the greatest doping scandal in the history of sport.

In 2004, Lance Armstrong's most trusted teammate George Hincapie wrote an email to the man who used to be Armstrong's closest friend on the bike circuit, Frankie Andreu.

It said: "I cannot understand how you can just sit around and let betsy try and take down the whole team."

It was a reference to Andreu's wife, Betsy, who had started doing something no one on the drug-tainted team had apparently ever done before. She started questioning what was going on and even speaking out.

"In the beginning, I was scared," said Betsy Andreu from her home in Dearborn, Mich. "But I thought this is bull and something has to be done about it. I had to get the truth out."

The U.S. Anti Doping Agency case against disgraced Tour de France champion Lance Armstrong is filled with sworn affidavits, statement after statement by riders admitting their drug use on the bike.

The case includes stories of wives being in on the scandal. Armstrong's ex-wife Kristin is said to have told people they called the blood booster EPO "butter" because they kept it with the butter in their refrigerator.

According to the USADA file: "Later at the World Championships at Valkenberg in the Netherlands the U.S. riders arrived at their tent near the start of the race to find that Armstrong had asked his wife Kristin to wrap cortisone tablets in tin foil for him and his teammates. Kristin obliged. ... One of the riders remarked 'Lance's wife is rolling joints.'"

The Andreus had been close friends with the Armstrongs, often dining together and socializing between races.

They were neighbors in Europe and spent huge amounts of time together.

Betsy Andreu grew uncomfortable as she started to hear more and more talk of drug use and says she asked Kristin Armstrong about it.

"It's a necessary evil," Armstrong's then wife said according to the case file.

But while some chose to look the other way, Armstrong's former assistant Emma O'Reilly, was bothered by her conscience too, despite having respect for what Armstrong could do as an athlete and a leader.

O'Reilly faced enormous backlash and threats when she first broke her silence to a journalist from the Sunday Times in 2003, recounting stories of purchasing makeup to cover up a bruise from injections on Armstrong and occasions where she believed she was being asked to be a drug courier for the team.

Her sworn affidavit to the USADA includes detailed anecdotes, including this one: "Lance gave me a small package wrapped in plastic. He explained that the package contained some things that he was uneasy traveling with and had not wanted to throw away at the team hotel. He then asked me if I would be willing to dispose of it for him on the way to my next destination. From Lance's explanation and the shape and feel of the package I assumed that the package contained syringes."

O'Reilly has said she never wanted to bring down Armstrong, but was bothered by what was going on and simply didn't want to lie about it.

As a result she says Armstrong sued her and, in her words, "terrorized" her.

The Women Who Put the Brakes on Lance Armstrong

But it was Betsy Andreu who never stopped pressing. When she and Frankie were closest with Armstrong and visiting him during his cancer treatment, she says Armstrong told a doctor in their presence about a number of performance enhancing drugs he'd been using.

She was enraged -- mainly at her then fiance Frankie -- and vowed not to marry him if he didn't promise that he wouldn't use drugs.

She was afraid of possible side effects and health problems with the man she planned to have children with. But she says she didn't go public with the information, telling it instead under oath after being subpoenaed to testify in a civil case Armstrong was embroiled in.

Betsy Andreu says that truth telling -- along with the pressure she put on Frankie to stop doping (he had admitted to using EPO while racing) -- cost them dearly.

She says Frankie's future in cycling was permanently damaged by the couple's steadfast determination to go up against the sport's code of silence, as foreshadowed in this email from Lance Armstrong to Frankie Andreu years earlier, now included in the USADA case file.

"By helping to bring me down is not going to help y'alls situation at all. There is a direct link to all of our success here and I suggest you remind her of that."

"It would have been nice to have company," Betsy Andreu now says. "It boggles my mind that women were OK with their husbands putting this crap in their bodies. We could have made a lot more money, but it just wasn't worth it. And I know I've never cheated anybody out of anything. I know I've always told the truth."

Sorry you didn't like this comment. Please provide a reason below.

Are you sure?
Rating failed. Try again.
Request failed. Try again.
We will promote constructive and witty comments to the top, so everyone sees them!
Sorry, we can’t load comments right now. Try again.

    Recommended for You

    • Obama's photographer just shared a very poignant farewell photo

      Farewell, Obama. Former President Barack Obama's Chief Official White House Photographer Pete Souza has shared thousands of personal photos throughout the years. From Obama playing with kids to serious and intense moments, Souza gave the world a sneak peek inside the life of Obama and his family during their eight years in the White House. Now, Souza has shared a final farewell. SEE ALSO: Michelle Obama's final farewell: "Lead by example with hope, never fear" It's a picture of now-former President Obama looking out of a helicopter window at the White House down below. Farewell. A photo posted by Pete Souza (@petesouza) on Jan 20, 2017 at 12:06pm PST Souza shared the photo to his Instagram page after Obama left the inauguration ceremony via the Executive One helicopter with Michelle and he captioned it, "Farewell." Souza has already changed his Instagram profile to read "TBD. Former Chief Official White House Photographer for President Obama." His photos taken before today have been purged for archival.  Souza also shared a photo of Obama boarding the helicopter, and exiting the Oval Office for the last time. President Obama waves from the steps of Executive One helicopter following the inauguration of Donald Trump at the U.S. Capitol. A photo posted by Pete Souza (@petesouza) on Jan 20, 2017 at 12:01pm PST Another view of President Obama leaving the Oval Office for the last time this morning (taken with remote camera). A photo posted by Pete Souza (@petesouza) on Jan 20, 2017 at 11:58am PST BONUS: Donald Trump's inauguration address included a Bane quote

      Mashable
    • Top Trump inauguration memes, mistakes and moments

      As Donald Trump was sworn in as the 45th president of the United States and protests flared up in Washington, D.C., some moments of levity broke the tension. The 45th President of the USA pic.twitter.com/kA2SrkJEeS

      Yahoo Canada News
    • ESPN drops commentator over Venus Williams 'gorilla' remark

      US broadcaster ESPN has dropped commentator Doug Adler after he compared Venus Williams to a "gorilla" at the Australian Open -- although he insisted the word he used was "guerrilla". ESPN said Adler should have been more careful during his coverage of the seven-time Grand Slam-winner's win over Stefanie Voegele. "During an Australian Open stream on ESPN3, Doug Adler should have been more careful in his word selection," an ESPN statement said.

      AFP
    • 'NCIS: Los Angeles' star Miguel Ferrer dies at 61

      NEW YORK (AP) — Miguel Ferrer, who brought stern authority to his featured role on CBS' hit "NCIS: Los Angeles" and, before that, to NBC crime drama "Crossing Jordan," has died.

      Associated Press
    • Suspect in officer's slaying spews expletives at judge

      ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — Hours after a fugitive in the slaying of a police officer told a judge he was brutalized during his arrest, Orlando's police chief released a video of his surrender and described the suspect as "extremely violent, dangerous and very unpredictable."

      Associated Press
    • Cancer Patient Who Did 'Juju on That Beat' During Chemo in Viral Video Dies

      Ana-Alecia Ayala, who made headlines in October for dancing up a storm during chemotherapy treatments, has died after a year-long battle against cancer.

      Inside Edition
    • Grown-up Paris Jackson hits her namesake city for Givenchy

      PARIS (AP) — Colorful fall-winter menswear shows in Paris mixed high culture, androgyny and streetwear, as Paris Jackson, the daughter of the late pop icon Michael Jackson, stepped out for the cameras at Givenchy's library show— fittingly in the City of Light.

      Associated Press
    • Animal Shelter Offers $11,200 Reward After Rottweiler Is Found With Ears, Nose and Tail Cut Off

      "Baron is doing remarkably well considering his injuries," a veterinarian reported.

      Inside Edition
    • Prosecutor: 'Dance Mom' should be imprisoned for fraud

      PITTSBURGH (AP) — A prosecutor on Friday urged a federal judge to sentence "Dance Moms" star Abby Lee Miller to prison instead of probation for bankruptcy fraud.

      Associated Press
    • Is There a Hidden Meaning Behind Melania Trump's Tiffany & Co. Inauguration Gift?

      On Friday morning during the traditional welcoming to the White House of the incoming president and first lady by the outgoing president and first lady before the inauguration, Melania Trump presented Michelle Obama with a gift from Tiffany & Co.

      Yahoo Style
    • Donald Trump Is Already Tweeting Us Into War with North Korea

      The next president has managed to put himself on a collision course with Pyongyang. Can he cut a deal to stop it?

      Foreign Policy Magazine
    • Roger Federer floors Berdych in 90 minutes at Australian Open

      Swiss marvel Roger Federer blitzed long-time rival Tomas Berdych in straight sets to storm into the fourth round with a vintage performance at the Australian Open on Friday. The 17-time Grand Slam champion, seeded 17th after an injury-hit 2016, downed the 10th-seeded Czech 6-2, 6-4, 6-4, in just 90 minutes. Federer reached the round of 16 in Melbourne for the 15th time where he will face Japanese fifth seed Kei Nishikori.

      AFP
    • Everything We Think We Know About the Upcoming Ford Bronco and Ranger

      Ford promises a new small pickup truck and a return of the legendary Bronco name. Here's what to expect.

      Road & Track
    • Alleged NYC Bucket of Gold Thief Arrested In Ecuador

      Julio Nivelo took authorities on a months-long search that spanned two continents.

      Inside Edition
    • Delaware welcomes Joe Biden home after decades in Washington

      WILMINGTON, Del. (AP) — On his last day as vice president, Joe Biden briefly revived a tradition he had followed faithfully as a U.S. senator for Delaware: He rode the commuter train home from Washington.

      Associated Press
    • Suspected Orlando Cop Killer Goes on Profanity-Laced Rant in Court

      Suspected cop killer Markeith Loyd -- who was caught Tuesday after a nine-day manhunt in Orlando, Florida -- cursed at the judge in a profanity-laced first appearance in court this morning. Loyd, who was wanted for allegedly killing Master Sgt. Debra Clayton of the Orlando Police Department this month, was in court today charged with killing his pregnant ex-girlfriend Sade Dixon in December. Loyd has not yet been charged in connection with Sgt. Clayton’s murder.

      ABC News
    • President Obama Boards Flight For Palm Springs Vacation

      ABC News' David Wright describes Obama's difficulty and delight of leaving Washington and the Presidency.

      ABC News Videos
    • How fast is too fast? Tesla’s Model S P100D hits a 0-60 time of 2.38 seconds

      Let's be honest: Tesla doesn't really need to make its cars go any faster. After all, it's not as if Tesla owners are lamenting the fact that a handful of multi-million dollar supercars can go from 0-60 MPH just a few tenths of a second faster than a top of the line Model S. That of course has never stopped Elon Musk and co. from attempting to turn the Model S into an unrivaled speed demon. This past August, Tesla unveiled the Model S P100 D, a car that can go from 0-60 in 2.5 seconds flat. Upon its introduction, Elon Musk boasted that it was the fastest production car on the planet. Elon Musk, though, is a notorious glutton for speed and performance, which is to say that Tesla engineers quickly got to work on ways to make the already jaw-dropping 2.5 0-60 time even more impressive. To this point, Tesla last week released an over the air update that manged to make Tesla's flagship Model S even faster. Musk even took to Twitter where he hinted that a 0-60 time of just 2.34 seconds might even be possible. https://twitter.com/elonmusk/status/819609111801139200?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw Just one week later, we finally have our first legit video -- from the adventurous folks on YouTube's Tesla Racing Channel -- which showcases the Tesla Model S P100D in "Ludicrous+" mode going from 0-60 at breakneck speed. While the Model S didn't hit 2.34 seconds, it did manage to post a time of 2.38 seconds. You can check out video of the Model S P100 D putting in work via the video below. All the more impressive is that Tesla managed to make the car faster solely via a software update. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fUAZcD0gqDg Lastly, and for those who have an unquenchable thirst for speed, you can check out a list of the world's fastest cars over here .

      BGR News
    • Anti-Trump inauguration protests break out in U.S. (48 photos)

      Protesters set fires and hurled bricks in a daylong assault on the city hosting Donald Trump’s inauguration, registering their rage against the new president in a series of clashes that led to more than 200 arrests. Police used pepper spray and stun grenades to prevent the chaos from spilling into Trump’s formal procession and evening balls. Several spirited demonstrations unfolded peacefully at various security checkpoints near the Capitol as police helped ticket-holders get through to the inaugural ceremony. Signs read, “Resist Trump Climate Justice Now,” ”Let Freedom Ring” and “Free Palestine.” But about a mile from the National Mall, police gave chase to a group of about 100 protesters who smashed the windows of downtown businesses including a Starbucks, a Bank of America and a McDonald’s as they denounced capitalism and Trump. Police in riot gear used pepper spray from large canisters to help contain the violence, which erupted periodically throughout the day. “They began to destroy property, throw objects at people, through windows. A large percentage of this small group was armed with crowbars and hammers,” said the city’s interim police chief, Peter Newsham. Six officers suffered minor injuries, he said. The confrontation began an hour before Trump took the oath of office and escalated several hours later as the crowd of protesters swelled to more than 1,000, some wearing gas masks and with arms chained together inside PVC pipe. One said the demonstrators were “bringing in the cavalry.” (AP) See more of our inauguration coverage here . See more news-related photo galleries and follow us on Yahoo News Photo Tumblr.  

      Yahoo News Photo Staff 24 min ago