She was both a public critic and a target of Lance Armstrong for over a decade, and now Betsy Andreu is looking for more than just a confession.
“Words are empty without actions, so I truly hope if he’s sorry then he will tell the whole unadulterated truth and be 100 percent transparent,’’ Andreu told NBC News.
Andreu is the wife of Frankie Andreu, Armstrong’s former teammate on the U.S. Postal Service cycling team. Andreu told the New York Times in 2006 that he used performance-enhancing drugs as a member of Armstrong's team before the 1999 Tour de France, which was Armstrong's first Tour win.
That year, the couple also testified that they witnessed Armstrong telling doctors that he used EPO, steroids and other performance-enhancing drugs. Their testimony was also part of the 1,000-page report issued by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency in August detailing Armstrong’s use of performance enhancers that coincided with the USADA’s announcement that it was banning Armstrong and stripping him of his record seven Tour de France titles.
“Frankie, my husband, (Armstrong’s) teammate, rode the 2000 Tour (de France) clean,’’ Andreu said. “What was his reward from Lance? Not getting his Tour bonus and getting fired off the team.’’
Armstrong had consistently denied the Andreus' allegations.
“For the past decade, I have been a public target along with my husband to the point where it seemed I was defending myself on a daily basis from smears and attacks that would happen,’’ Andreu said.
Andreu is not alone in her call for more transparency from Armstrong. In the wake of his telling Oprah Winfrey that he used performance-enhancing drugs, the World Anti-Doping Agency has announced that he must tell the truth under oath if he ever intends to return to competitive cycling. On Wednesday, the International Cycling Union announced that in the wake of the Armstrong scandal it has created an anti-doping helpline that will take confidential calls in French and English from any professional cyclists taking part in UCI competitions.
Bicycling magazine editor-at-large Bill Strickland, who has knowledge of the interview with Winfrey that was taped on Monday, told NBC News it was awkward and tense. Armstrong had trouble reconciling his documented behavior — including intimidating those who accused him of doping in the past.
“Some of the ugly acts of intimidation, I think that addressing those things for him seemed in a way harder than admitting to the doping,’’ Strickland told NBC News.
In the interview, Armstrong discusses having to come clean to his five children.
“As anyone who’s a parent knows, your kids can be a motivating factor for coming around and doing the right thing,’’ Strickland said.
On Wednesday morning, Armstrong's cancer foundation, Livestrong, issued its first public statement about the interview.
“We expect Lance to be completely truthful and forthcoming in his interview and with all of us in the cancer community. We expect we will have more to say at that time.’’
Livestrong CEO Doug Ulman will appear live on TODAY Friday in an exclusive interview.