Lance Armstrong has consistently and aggressively denied using artificial performance enhancement on his way to seven Tour de France victories, and his supporters often suggest that people who accuse him of doping do so for fame, jealousy or profit.
But anyone who thinks it pays to accuse such a popular athlete of wrongdoing should listen to a pair of voicemails that Betsy Andreu, an Armstrong critic, woke up to in the spring of 2008. The messages were from Stephanie McIlvain, a close friend of Armstrong's who worked for one of his sponsors, the Oakley eyewear company.
Abusive and histrionic, the tapes have recently become evidence in the expanding federal probe into possible doping conspiracies on Armstrong's cycling teams.
"I hope somebody breaks a baseball bat over your head," McIlvain tells Andreu in the first message. "I also hope that one day you have adversity in your life, and you have some type of tragedy that will…definitely make an impact on you."