Lance Armstrong: The man who ‘gained the world but lost his soul’

In 2005, the couple helped report Armstrong’s doping offenses by testifying that the seven-time Tour de France winner admitted to using banned substances while receiving cancer treatment at the hospital.

“I don’t think he realizes the damage he’s done to people to date; I don’t think he cares,” added Betsy Andreu. “I think he missed the adulation and the farewell from the public and the media and he wanted to regain their good graces.”

In the end, Armstrong agreed to pay the US government $ 5 million for the use of performance-enhancing drugs while the US Postal Service paid millions to sponsor his team.
Lance Armstrong of the United States enters the peloton during the start of the roll on day 3 of La Ruta de Los Conquistadores on November 3, 2018 in Limon, Costa Rica.
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Fall in disgrace

Andreu’s husband is one of a handful of former teammates to participate in the two-part documentary – directed by Marina Zenovich – which tells of one of the biggest doping scandals in the history of sport and the precipitous fall of ‘Armstrong of grace.

“At first, when Marina Zenovich contacted me, I asked her if Lance was involved, and she replied that it was. I said I didn’t want to do anything about it. Because if Lance didn’t has nothing to do with anything, we know it is trying to manipulate, “says Betsy Andreu.

“However, she [Zenovich] assured me that he had no editorial control. This story is so complicated and there are so many tentacles and the devil is in the details … So I decided to participate, not to tell my truth, but the truth.”

Except that sometimes “the truth” can be difficult to pin down, especially when the documentary sneaks into a series of versions of events that vary depending on the narrator. It is largely Armstrong. What is wrong with Betsy Andreu.

“I really feel like he did this to rewrite history and change the narrative,” she says. “One thing he does and he does it very effectively is that he is a good manipulator and he is very charismatic.”

Throughout the documentary, Armstrong hesitates to show his remorse, before turning to justifying his actions or engaging in an “ all things considered ” retrospective, while talking brazenly about how he was able to build a network of deception for so long. About the lie, he says:

“No one dope and is honest. You are not. The only way to dope and be honest is that nobody asks you, which is not realistic. The second person asks you, you lie.

“Now it could be a lie because you answer it once, or in my case it could be 10,000 lies because you answer it 10,000 times.

“And then you go a little further and you strengthen it and then ‘f ** k you, you will never ask me that question again, will you? And then you will sue someone and then it’s … that’s why it’s 100 times worse, because we all lie. “

Lance Armstrong poses for a photo at the Arataki Visitor Center during a ride with local cyclists in Auckland & # 39; s Waitakere Ranges on December 19, 2016 in Auckland, New Zealand.
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‘Warts and all’

The documentary is uncomfortable to watch, but there is no doubt that Armstrong is a fascinating subject, exactly the complex character that the director of the film Zenovich hoped to find.

“What I like about the film is that it’s right there, warts and everything,” Zenovich told CNN Sport. “He’s in a different place and you can sort of, you can see what he’s been through.

“For me, someone who is not cynical, someone who came to this open feeling as if he was ready to give a part of themselves, I had the impression that he was saying his truth. Let it be the truth, it is his interpretation of the course of his life. ” “

Betsy Andreu was a vocal critic of Armstrong.

Over the course of 18 months and eight interviews, Zenovich said the length of his stay with Armstrong was crucial to telling the whole story “warts and everything” without the former cyclist deviating.

Very early on, Zenovich and his team noticed that the 48-year-old woman was always more unattended after intense training.

“The second time we interviewed him, we filmed him swimming and running first, then it was like, wow … it was like a killer interview … I think that these people who are used to doing such intense training are much more settled once they have done their training.

“Once he did that, we saw that he was more like” on the chair “and ready to wait until it was over. He was much calmer after exercising.”

In the ESPN documentary, Armstrong makes it clear that he's not a fan of Floyd Landis.
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“It could be worse. I could be Floyd Landis’

However, Zenovich admits that she struggled to try to guard against Armstrong’s control over the documentary’s narrative.

“I mean there was always part of it at stake,” said Zenovich. “One of the great beauties of having so many interviews is having the time to get what you want.

“If I had an interview with him, it would be horrible. I mean, I didn’t think eight was enough. And in the last interview, I didn’t want it to be over because it could have lasted longer. doesn’t disclose everything … but then you just have to try to get as much as possible. “

For those who have followed the story of the deception, concealment and betrayal of the disgraced cyclist, it is never clear if the 2020 Armstrong is really different from the one who organized the biggest doping plot. of cycling history. Especially when his bitterness towards the former teammates who helped overthrow his empire pierces.

Speaking of his rise and fall, Armstrong says, “It could be worse. I could be Floyd Landis … waking up a piece of shit every day.”

Floyd Landis rides during the Tour de France in 2006.

Landis – who was stripped of his Tour de France title in 2006 for doping and then filed a whistleblower complaint against Armstrong – is also interviewed as part of the documentary.

“I had to clean myself. He is obviously not happy with that. I no longer have any animosity towards him. I hope he has changed, and I hope he finds a little peace. . I don’t know why people can’t continue, but here we are, “said Landis.

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The darkest conclusion of the ESPN documentary for Betsy Andreu is that the apology for Armstrong does not seem to equal contrition.

“It’s a lost soul. I don’t think he gets it. Americans … we’re very forgiving. Everyone hung up, did he say sorry? I think the question should be, “Did he try to reconcile? He thinks that by saying he said he was sorry for the people or constantly telling the media how sorry he was that this was enough.”

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