tell me lies, Lance, sweet little lies

this guy needs no introduction

this guy needs no introduction

By Betsy Andreu

As long as Lance is on his reconciliation tour, I think it’s only appropriate the tour should have its own theme song. I’m thinking of Fleetwood Mac’s “Tell me Lies”. Maybe not sweet little lies or just “one big lie” but a continuation of lies.

In a desperate attempt to do whatever he can to mitigate the damage he’s done to himself with a lifetime ban competing in sports at an elite level, Lance is reaching out to whomever will listen to him. He wants to show how very sorry he is for decimating people like me, Frankie, Greg LeMond, Mike Anderson, David Walsh, Emma, JV, Travis and USADA that he has only reached out to his former soigneur Emma  – over wine and with cameras rolling just to show how sorry he really is.

And what about the rest of us?

Lance’s reconciliation tour, aka the I-really-want-to-compete-at-an-elite-level-again tour, is nothing more than a charade to back up his call for a version of a Truth and Reconciliation Committee that will exonerate him. I really didn’t get the gist of it until I talked to Joe Harris, a consultant who has applied the principles of truth and reconciliation in business, and co-authored a “roadmap” for repairing pro cycling with Steve Maxwell, an economist and contributor to VeloNews.

He explained that a truth and reconciliation process, when done correctly, is never run by the agency who will itself be investigated. In this case, the UCI.  Just as MLB hired the independent investigator George Mitchell, so cycling must do the same. There must be complete autonomy from the UCI, who would have to divest all of the oversight to an independent person. Without this independence, the committee could be swayed by personal agendas, and testimony could be filtered so that certain people get preferential treatment, even if they don’t deserve it.

Where would this person come from?  An agency well versed in transitional law such as the International Center for Transitional Justice in South Africa, New York University Law School’s Justice in Transition, or the Carter Foundation could recommend a legal scholar who would focus on the societal healing and international rebuilding of the immense damage caused to the sport by such corruption. As Joe so eloquently explained to me, I agree with this premise. We certainly can’t afford to have another farcical Vrijman Report. Joe and Steve’s website www.theouterline.com explains it far better than I can even begin to. 

What I don’t understand, however, is why Lance needs a TRC in order to tell the truth. Nothing is preventing him from meeting with the fine folks at USADA. He declined to go under oath for The London Sunday Times and Acceptance Insurance, yet, he can still do so with SCA and the U.S. government. He’ll have the freedom to tell all; his testimony under oath is protected as long as he’s not lying.  No brainer, right?

Lance would have you think that it’s all the UCI’s fault. I won’t argue that they’re at fault but where’s Lance’s culpability here?  Who helped him collude with the UCI? I guarantee you, he didn’t do it on his own. A TRC unchecked with no accountability can do more harm than good.  Under oath, Lance is held accountable.

Nothing changes if nothing changes. Nothing has changed with Lance. He is still desperately trying to control the narrative. The problem for him is not many are listening. I know firsthand he is trying hard to sully me and Frankie not to mention Travis, Greg, JV, and his most recent target, Alex Gibney. Funny thing is he’s going off the record  hoping that by merely telling the lie the seed is planted. After all, it worked before. I can’t tell you how many people told me they thought I was crazy thanks to lance.  Look at the damage done to Greg’s reputation from people who still tout him as nuts. What about Travis and usada’s famous witch hunt?

After Emma and Lance’s very public meeting, so many contacted me asking if I was next. Would I meet with him? Sure why not? As long as Travis Tygart is present and Lance is bound under oath why wouldn’t I? I actually invite him to meet with me. You think he’ll agree to those terms? I’ll stick with water or coffee and no cameras to film it by the way.

After Oprah, I was willing to give him a chance; I wanted there to be a reconciliation. I wanted nothing more than to put this behind me, use it as a cautionary tale and forge ahead touting clean sport especially for kids whether it be through USADA’s truesport.org initiative or via the media.

Let’s face it, Lance’s childhood was awful; the child within was never healed. It doesn’t excuse the monster of the person he became but it damn well helps to explain it. I was being told he was using me, Frankie didn’t hold back on that opinion. I didn’t want to listen.  After all, Lance said he was sorry. I felt it was only fair that I give him a chance to prove that he meant it.

That conversation before Oprah, he told me he wanted to meet with me and Frankie face to face. He told me he’d done a lot of bad things to a lot of good people. Healing and forgiving is a process. For Lance, telling the truth or learning to tell the truth was part of that process. After Oprah, we sporadically kept in touch.  Days turned into weeks, weeks turned into months. I was slowly beginning the painful realization that his talk was cheap.

When I went to Austin in April as part of a an anti-doping panel, Lance and I had agreed to meet.  I was skeptical he would actually follow through. “Are you going to skedaddle when I get to town?” I emailed him. “Please,” was his response, “I’ll be here.”

Well, as Frankie predicted, he backed out. He and the others were right:  he used me. I’m embarrassed to say I fell for it. What benefit it had been for him to have his most ardent and vocal critic willing to give him a chance. In doing so, I kept quiet and I didn’t call him out on his lack of action. I was giving him the benefit of the doubt when I’d talk to journalists. Like so many Lance used for his own benefit, I too became a pawn in his reconciliation tour. Frankie being that wonderful sensitive husband he is said, “I told you so. He’s a liar.  Duh!”

Consider these 3 instances:

*  3 days before we were deposed in the SCA case in October 2005, Lance calls Frankie for the first time in almost 2 years.  In his deposition, Lance said he called Frankie just to say hello. Frankie testified he called to talk about our imminent depositions as well as Kathy LeMond’s deposition.

*  The day before he tapes Oprah in January 2013, he starts his reconciliation tour by calling people. Frankie and I are the only ones who spoke with him. Of course, Oprah asks him if he’s called people to apologize. Voila! He can say he talked to us.

*  The weekend before his big Monday hearing in D.C. regarding the whistleblower case (November 18, 2013), he meets with Emma – and agrees to go on camera for the world to see how very sorry he is. It just happens to be the weekend before his big court date.

Do you see a pattern here? Just the other day Lance tweeted that he has “repeatedly” told me and Frankie he’s sorry.

He’s still lying.

There’s a reason why. When a reformed kool-aid drinker, Patrick Dixon, told me he told Lance he should do what it takes to make amends with me and Frankie, Lance told him to “F@#& off!” This was just a few short months ago after Lance refused to meet with me in April. You get the gist.

Lance didn’t meet with me in April because he wasn’t authentic with me in January. If Lance could somehow understand the damage he’s done to people on a personal level,  the businesseses he’s defrauded,  the destruction of the sport itself on a global level, he’d realize that it’s not possible to allow him back in sport.

Any sport.

Ever.

Lance should ask a very simple question: what must I do to rectify the damage I’ve done? In our case, all he had to do was meet with us - nothing more nothing less.

He should be opening up his checkbook to SCA and asking,”How much do I write the check for?”

He should be flying to New Zealand and get down on his knees to Mike Anderson and beg for forgiveness.

Maybe with Kathy and Greg, he could tell them what Trek knew and offer to pay them for their bike company he helped destroy.

How about paying USADA back - the anti-doping agency he tried to destroy. It’s really not that difficult on what he should do.

It’s only difficult if the intent to do good is not there.

A pathological liar doesn’t all of the sudden become a truth teller. Maybe he just switches from telling one big lie to a lot of little lies.

(I was not paid to write this.)

______________________________________________

132 comments

  1. Ewan

    Lets not forget,this is about the money.
    Although Lance is right to say he is not the only one to cheat, however He did take the lions share of the prize money and endorsements. now he wants to clean his sole to try and remake himself into the man he was.
    On a week that saw the passing of a real man who did put his money where his mouth is, Lance could start with handing over all his fortune of ill gotten gains. Then people might start to listen

  2. Genny Brunet

    I totally agree with you Ewan and thank you Betsy for writing about what you know.
    During all those years “The One Big Lie” had a purpose: Money and all the benefits it brings in one’s life without regard for other people life, their reputation and livelihood. Today, Lance is still the same man with the same objectives: Compete again (win some more) and protect what he has won ($)
    Offering compensations for the damage he has caused would be one way to begin thinking in a different direction. He would then have to take a hard look at the damage he has caused and have to evaluate it in terms that he understands ($) and cares about, before his healing process could only begin.
    It is a very long road ahead, and competing again would hinder him in that process rather than help him.

  3. Mike Guiltinan

    Sadly Lance Armstrong shows the vast amount of money and trophies that await those who cheat. In the world of sports there are just too many Lances who are willing to take the latest elixir to give them their fame and fortune.

  4. Just A Human

    Apparently some people are too bitter and can’t allow someone to apologize. Maturity leads to greater understanding of the actions of misguided youth.

    • Carn Soaks

      Narcissist, pathological liar, sadist. You name it, L.A. could be classified as it. Don’t tell me he was a misguided youth, who is yet to mature. He was well past his mid twenties when he won his first tour, and late thirties when he finally retired that second time. What befalls you as you develop, dictates your personality and acceptance of “normal” & “just” in later life. Those who influenced L.A.’s development have a lot to answer for. They turned loose on the world a Sycophant, a Liar and a Cheat. I’d be interested in finding the notes from L.A.’s child psychologist and seeing what is written there. They’ll be the same as the notes written about his mom.

  5. tt

    Betsy,

    Have you thought about your own healing in this process? It seems like such a shame you are letting Lance win and having your situation make you, seemingly, over reflective and possibly even a bit bitter. Just put it past you and move on with life. You have the opportunity to place your focus and time on so many wonderful things. Yes, Lance had a negative impact on you, your husband, the sport, and many other people, and it is good to have your hand in bringing about constructive reform, but it may be time to close this chapter and look forward to bigger, brighter days :-)

  6. Regis Chapman

    This is what I’ve been saying on cyclingnews forums as well. A narcissist doesn’t suddenly “get it”. Lance knows the jig was up and it was time to try to “get in front of it”. He’s too media savvy for his own good and lacks a lot of humanity- has for a long time. I was VERY disturbed by the public timing of the meeting with Emma O’Reilly. You can see that he’s still the cripplingly insecure person he ALWAYS was. He says it himself in the foreword of Chrissie Wellington’s book just how insecure he is. Why don’t cycling publications get into the psychology of these narcissists? Why doesn’t anyone call Lance out for what he is? No one at VeloNews or Cyclingnews does it- aren’t THEY concerned with cycling’s health? How about be concerned for the well-being of a truly disturbed person like Lance?

    Lance shares a lot of traits with Steve Gleason, who before he got CTE, was basically addicted to public adulation and such people can be bought and sold easily, which is what happened to him after he was embroiled in the Bountygate scandal. He used that to become the poster-boy for The Saints organization; THIS IS WHAT NARCISSISTS DO. The Saints organization used him as a sob story to cover for their own problems. Works both ways. Lance and the media NEVER ASK Lance the hard questions or even the human questions because they know, deep down, that they are using each other.

    If we could get Lance, the human being back from his now-perpetual World Insecurity Tour and he could grow beyond his “overcompensating with ego” phase of his life NOW, then there is a chance Betsy will get what she wants back from him. However, I do think it’s a mistake to go up against a naricssist. Very rarely, even with truth on your side, do you come out ahead of them- unless they can come back to being human again.

    She is only pointing out that if he was growing beyond his narcissism, then his response would be, well, more human. I have two things that concern me: 1) Most narcissists never recover because their WHOLE WORLD VIEW is incompatible with basic humanness that we (and Betsy) expect and 2) Lance the human- who was lost so long ago by being good at endurance sports (thereby postponing his maturity) and as a result was never able to overcome his fear and insecurity that would come naturally to most people.

    What you need to do, Lance, is ACTUALLY GROW and become a human again- and if this happened, we’d all see it- not this facsimile you have been trying to sell us. Sadly, the world he inhabited for so long was populated by corporate types and shallow Hollywood women; so it’s often difficult to back away from thinking in those shallow ways. Go deep Lance- it’s your only hope, and my only hope for him and for Betsy.

  7. Neil Myers

    Frankie Andreu, who had competed professionally since 1989, succumbed to using erythropoietin (EPO) in 1996 when its use in the peloton was commonplace.
    He resisted Armstrong’s persistent demands that he should start working with his trainer, Michele Ferrari, a doctor who had a reputation for encouraging the use of performance-enhancing drugs.
    During the first part of the 1999 Tour de France, Betsy Andreu was in the US, with the couple’s new-born first child. She watched the TV horrified as Frankie excelled in the punishing mountain stage to Sestriere, knowing he must have been assisted by EPO.

    ‘When I found out he did use it I went ballistic and said, “This is crazy you can’t go down that path”,’ said Andreu.

    WHAT IS AMAZING IS SHE DID NOT CALL AUTHORITIES ON FRANKIE, SHE KNEW YET SHE LET IT GO UNPUNISHED . . .

  8. Regis Chapman

    To all those who feel that a proper “punishment” is what is needed here- for example Betsy vs. Frankie (Neil Myers) or to Lance- just read Punished by Rewards by Alfie Kohn. You can see a lot of why Lance is so crippled by looking at this.

  9. wolf

    Betsy was right, by Lance’s own admission. He lied and some say he’s a a world class asshole, never met him myself. Frankie, is a nice guy, I have met him and he seemed great. I get the gist having followed this saga for a while, there is some kind of ideas that Lance pressured Frankie to dope in order to, “save his job” or “be on the tour” team or whatever and he succumed to the pressures of doping. Seems a bit weird to me, that a guy would risk his own career/health by doing something illegal like doping, yet wouldn’t tell his wife to shut up. For the love of all things holy, Betsy was right. Most rational, thinking people probably knew it she was right years ago, many folks knew Lance doped, knew everyone that testified against him doped. Betsy went public and dogged Lance like the Goldmans on OJ & Frankie’s career paid the price for it. A moral victory by a strong woman or a tit for tat by a hippocratic scorned school girl? Does having the courge to go public that Lance doped make Betsy a moraly better person than Frankie, Dave Z., Levi, George or anyone else that rolled over to save their bacon by eating the hand that fed them? Did she divorce Frankie because he is a liar and a cheating doper? My wife says to me sometimes, you wanta be right or you wanta sleep on the couch!? Betsy was right and that put Frankie’s career on the couch. Maybe Lance is still a world class asshole, don’t know, still haven’t met him and really don’t give two shits. I never made a living off Lance or even a dime for that matter, the only thing worse than being Lance right now is a scorned hypocrite, and those seem to be plenty these days.

    • paul

      In 99 frankie was team leader and lance had never shown any real potential to win a tdf never mind 7 and was coming back from cancer. How did he pressure anyone? Betsey is a sad person who should get a life

  10. Fredrik Schmidt

    Jesus, you sound like a Tea party, it’s just sports! This happens every hour, every day in business, in banking, in politics, in the army, in almost every gym, 24/7, he did it, got banned, just forgett about him, do not keep the flame burning, let him slide in to ambliviance!

  11. Joe Green

    I would guess he has been told about steps he must go through for real reconciliation to occur, and now he is trying to be both tactically adept and very public about the process. Even if he learned about reconciliation in therapy, even if on some abstract level he vaguely understands that other people have feelings and aspirations and that he attempted to crush them, he doesn’t really feel it; in fact he’s incapable of feeling it, he’ll never feel it.

  12. Larry Hopkins

    I have some hot sauce called “Scorned Woman” she should try, perhaps that would shut her up. She’s obsessed with Lance and no confession or admission of guilt will satisfy her. I doubt many people follow her rant or care for that matter. Frankie does not come out swinging at every chance nor does he write an unsolicited narrative of this and that to drag Lance under the plow. Calling him a pathological liar…is that not doing to him what she said he did to her? Betsy Andreau can do whatever she wants with her life but my recommendation is she forgive and forget, find peace … and get on with her life.

  13. M. Jacobs

    True redemption for Lance could likely be a lifelong process. From a public perspective, Lance should pour as much (or more) energy into a worldwide campaign to rid doping and drug use from all professional sports, including cycling. First, however, he must exorcise his demons by spilling all he knows — names, places, dates, actions — in sworn testimony about drug use/abuse in the pro peleton during all the time he rode professionally. Nothing would be held back. No one would be spared. From that point forward, Lance would undertake a global campaign against doping and drug use in pro sports. Repeating his admission of guilt in this process — a lifelong self-flagelation action — may help to establish and maintain some semblance of personal credibilty for his new anti-doping program. But, until Lance Armstrong gets honest, truthful and real, he will have no credibility and will forever be dispised and branded a cheater. He will be an outcast, The ball is in his court,

  14. jay

    Wow! Interesting comments from the bystanders with no skin in the game. She had no voice! Money, lawyers and hero worship saw to that! Now the truth is out. She had a sincere desire to forgive and move on. She is again exposing the lies.
    What a strong individual she is, I admire her strength and honesty.
    I respect Lance’s accomplishments on the bike and can understand why he said doped. His actions off the bike are dispicable.
    Oh, to the folks that want to make it political. Armstrong sounds like a democrat! He is lying to meet his agenda!

  15. Colin McGuirk

    Betsy,

    My admiration for you continues to grow.

    I wish you continued strength as the moral and ethical compass in this morass of lies, half truths and truth elasticity for as long as you choose to continue on this path.

    My faith in the Armstrong story has completely evaporated, but my faith in humanity generally is often topped up by courageous people like yourself.

    I wish you only the best, and that you get peace and serenity from the rollercoaster of negativity and destruction that surrounds Lance.

    Colin

  16. Crit racer

    Betsy and Frankie were completely ok with doping when it was lining Frankie’s pockets (long before Lance had any influence on the process). Only after Lance declined Frankie’s repeated begging to be given a spot on the team, years later, was it suddenly a huge issue in the Andreu household.

    How’s that glass house Betsy?

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  18. Susan

    I would have a great deal of respect for Betsy and Frankie if they had distanced themselves from Lance as soon as they knew the truth. However, we know they did not do this. They continued to benefit from their relationship with Lance for several years later. I am not judging them for this, but it is hard for me to understand why Betsey feels so abused by Lance. Since she and her husband did not take the high road and cut ties from Lance on a professional level as soon as they knew the truth. It is hard to understand her high moral stance against Lance, it just appears to me to be a retaliatory reaction.

    I feel sad for people like Betsy. They feel they are victims, but the truth is they are victims of their own creation. I am posting this comment in an effort to help Betsy see that she played a role in her own victimization.

  19. Charles Corum

    Lance is a psychopath: one whose fanatical desire to succeed at the expense on everyone else (“It’s not enough that I succeed, my friends must also fail.”) has destroyed many lives, including those of his “friends.” While one can admire his focus and dedication, the methods he used, and the destruction he inflected on others, as well as the sport of cycling, will stain his legacy forever.

    However, to put such behavior in perspective, the same psychopathic mindset by the “Titans of Wall Street,” and the politicians who gave them full-rein, resulted in the biggest theft in world history, destroyed the lives of million, and nearly destroyed the world economy.

  20. Bev

    I have no words to truly express how MUCH I despise that man. None. All I can say is that the man lacks not only a conscience but a SOUL.

    And I absolutely believe, based on everything I’ve read and seen on this case, he’s been doping LONG before the mid-90s. Before he became the national champion.

    I hope there will come a day, Betsy, for you, Frankie and your family, that you’ll never have to hear, see or utter that man’s name again. He needs to be forgotten. FOREVER.

    God Bless

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