Betsy Andreu says Armstrong’s upcoming interview is ‘about Lance first, and only Lance’
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Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Betsy Andreu says Armstrong’s upcoming interview is ‘about Lance first, and only Lance’

by Shane Stokes at 4:25 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Doping
Longtime critic of rider faults Oprah Winfrey for not tackling Texan over doping in the past

Betsy AndreuBetsy Andreu has expressed scepticism about next week’s Lance Armstrong interview by Oprah Winfrey, saying that she doesn’t believe that the talk show host will be sufficiently tough on the Texan, and suggesting that the interview a public relations exercise by him.

Speaking to VeloNation today, Andreu - who has been arguably Armstrong’s most vocal critic, and whose allegations against him of doping use were vindicated last year by USADA’s reasoned decision – said that the former pro was almost certainly looking to exploit the situation for his benefit.

“I think it has to do with the lawsuits that are looming over him, and the fact that he has nothing to do with his life,” she said. “His foundation got rid of him. He wants to compete. So for me, this interview is about garnering public sympathy, and self-aggrandisement. Lance doesn’t do anything without considering Lance first, and only Lance.

“Frankie [her husband, former US Postal Service rider Frankie Andreu – ed.] pointed out to me that there is a huge different between an apology and a confession. If Lance really wants to confess, let him confess about USA Cycling’s role, about the UCI’s role, about his financial backers’ role, about people in the media like Rick Reilly who protected him…and Oprah herself, who didn’t give a rat’s ass.”

Winfrey has interviewed Armstrong in the past; Andreu said that the last such meeting is an example for her about what was a lack of questioning by the talk show host. In fact, she suggests that Winfrey has been part of a previous mainstream media problem in relation to a lack of scrutiny.

“In 2011, last time he was on her show, she welcomed him on there with a big bear hug. The guy was under a criminal investigation – did she mention that in the interview? No, she said nothing,” she stated. “She is part of the media problem, she aided and abetted Lance. I hope she confesses to that, because she helped him in his destruction of people by refusing to every question him. Particularly so when he was under a criminal investigation. She didn’t question him at all. She validates herself by being embraced by celebrities.”

Andreu was initially friends with Armstrong, but has said that things changed over time following what she said was a hospital room admission in 1996. Armstrong was being treated for testicular cancer and both Andreus have said that they heard him tell doctors that he had used a variety of doping products prior to getting sick, including EPO, testosterone and cortisone.

Andreu testified under oath on that issue in 2006 during the SCA Promotions trial, which was conducted over bonuses not paid by the company in relation to his sixth Tour win.

In the years since then, she continued to speak out against the rider, being one of the most persistent in questioning his claims that he rode clean. Her husband Frankie, who himself admitted to using EPO in 1999 and said it was part of what was requested by the team, came under pressure. He lost his US Postal Service role when he refused to dope in 2000, then he subsequently suffered in his jobs post-cycling career due to the testimony against Armstrong and his wife’s persistent questioning.

“We are one of the two families who have been paying the price for over a decade of Lance’s tyranny, with the LeMonds being the others,” she said. “We were alone for years, we have been paying the price. Frankie’s career was derailed because he wouldn't get on the programme, Greg’s bike business was destroyed, we were all criticised and harassed. Lance singled out two people in particular, me and Greg, and did what he could to discredit us.”

Given that, she said it was frustrating to see Armstrong held up for so long as an icon. She believes that Winfrey is one of those responsible for helping build his myth, suggesting that she didn’t do her duty in investigating the claims against him.

“Oprah is supposed to embody truth, but she never cared about the truth of Lance until now…until such time as it is going to benefit her flailing network,” she said.

“It’s now popular to say the guy is a fraud, because that has been basically proven. People don’t have to worry about speaking out. But before it was popular [to be critical of Armstrong – ed], Oprah cared only about her ratings, she didn’t care about what was really happening. How otherwise could she welcome him on the programme with doping allegations hanging over him? She never questioned him then, only took him at his word."

Andreu regards Winfrey’s interview with Marion Jones as being an example of not pushing hard enough when dealing with those with question marks over their heads. “Lance built his empire on being clean, Oprah build hers on the idea the truth matters. In America, Oprah embodies the truth…she soaks up that she is the embodiment of truth and good will. But let’s have a bet she is going to get tears in her eyes talking to Lance.

“The thing is, everyone wants to distance themselves from him…that is why he went to Oprah. His options were running out. With Oprah, you can negotiate your terms…with 60 Minutes, you can’t.”


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