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Former Lance Armstrong Teammate Calls for Indy Doctors to Corroborate 1996 Doping Confession
Posted By: Adam Wren · 2/14/2013 4:05:00 PM
Former Lance Armstrong teammate Frankie Andreu tells IM that Dr. Larry Einhorn, esteemed oncologist with the IU School of Medicine and Lance Armstrong Foundation, was not present in the Indianapolis hospital room where Armstrong allegedly admitted to doping in 1996. But he wants to know the identities of the doctors who were.
“That’s the million-dollar question,” says Andreu. “If I knew that, all these problems probably would not exist.”
Last month, IM queried Dr. Einhorn—who treated Armstrong in the mid-’90s—about an affidavit in which Andreu claimed that at least two people in Indianapolis, evidently physicians, knew about Armstrong’s doping years before the recent scandal that stripped the cyclist of his Tour de France medals. Einhorn's reply: “Utter nonsense.”
In 2005, Andreu and his wife, Betsy, told attorneys with SCA Promotions, Inc., the Dallas-based insurance company that sued Armstrong last week for $12 million in prize money, that while Armstrong was in Indianapolis for cancer treatment, the couple heard him inform two “men in white coats” that he was on a cocktail of performance-enhancing drugs.
According to sworn affidavits, Betsy Andreu gave her deposition with SCA—in the presence of Armstrong—on Oct. 25, 2005. Two days later, on Oct. 27, the IU School of Medicine announced that the Lance Armstrong Foundation was donating $1.5 million to the university to fund Einhorn's pioneering cancer research.
Mary Maxwell, development director for the Simon Cancer Center and one of the key players involved in securing the donation for the hospital, says she began courting the endowment from Armstrong’s foundation in 2004. “It was a year in the making,” says Maxwell, adding that the hospital would have had no way of knowing about the Andreus' depositions, made just days before IU announced the gift.
But in November 2005, just a month after the depositions, Jeff Tillotson, an attorney for SCA, questioned Armstrong about the nature of the large hospital donation. Here's a portion of the transcript from the proceedings:
Tillotson: "You're not attempting to buy silence from someone at the Indiana University Hospital with your donation, because there's nothing to keep silent. Right?"
Armstrong: "Well, I'm sure you would love to paint that."
Tillotson: “Why did you say that?"
Armstrong: "Because that's—that's the—that's the tone of this entire case, the speculation and innuendo and rumor and second and third and fourth-hand information."
Tillotson tells IM that Armstrong “never completely or sufficiently explained the nature of the donation [to IU]—really, the amount of the donation—or why he made the donation at the particular time he did, to our satisfaction. And there was a very troubling pattern by Mr. Armstrong and his camp to dropping donations or cash contributions on various institutions or people who were getting ready to be asked questions about his illegal activities."
Betsy Andreu says she presumes she will be asked to testify in the current SCA case and believes Armstrong's alleged revelations in the Indianapolis hospital room will become the crux of the legal battle. "It's the foundation on which the whole Lance lie was built," she says. For now, she hopes the two witnesses from the hospital room will come forward to prove the veracity of her and her husband's allegation.
“So many people know [about Lance’s 1996 doping admission], and they’re still remaining quiet,” says Betsy Andreu. “How would they like it if somebody did to them what they did to us ... by remaining silent? How would they feel? We want them to come forward and say, ‘No, this did happen. They are telling the truth.’”
Armstrong has denied the Andreus' story in sworn testimony and public statements.
The pair claims that coming out against Armstrong has caused emotional and financial strain, and they speculate that others with knowledge of the Indianapolis hospital-room incident are keeping quiet to avoid the same fate.
“Armstrong verbally went after … Betsy, discrediting her, calling her a liar, and did the same to me,” says Andreu.“There are a lot of Lance Armstrong supporters, and a lot of them became not-supporters of ours. That definitely affected my work, and [my ability to make] a living in cycling.”
He goes on to say that Armstrong called him and his wife to apologize in a 10-minute conversation just days before the fallen cyclist’s interview with Oprah Winfrey aired.
“On the Oprah interview, he didn’t seem too contrite or sincere,” Andreu says. “On the phone with me ... he sounded sincere. He sounded apologetic. It was a voice of Lance Armstrong that I hadn’t heard in a very long time.”