(NEW YORK) — Behind the riders, the drugs and the secrets there were the women.
And they made choices, too, choices that may have set in motion the unraveling of the greatest doping scandal in the history of sport.
In 2004, Lance Armstrong’s most trusted teammate George Hincapie wrote an email to the man who used to be Armstrong’s closest friend on the bike circuit, Frankie Andreu.
It said: “I cannot understand how you can just sit around and let Betsy try and take down the whole team.”
It was a reference to Andreu’s wife, Betsy, who had started doing something no one on the drug-tainted team had apparently ever done before. She started questioning what was going on and even speaking out.
“In the beginning, I was scared,” said Betsy Andreu from her home in Dearborn, Mich. “But I thought this is bull and something has to be done about it. I had to get the truth out.”
But Andreu, said she didn’t go public with the information, until she spoke under oath after being subpoenaed to testify in a civil case Armstrong was embroiled in.
The U.S. Anti Doping Agency case against disgraced Tour de France champion Lance Armstrong is filled with sworn affidavits, statement after statement by riders admitting their drug use on the bike.
The case includes stories of wives being in on the scandal. Armstrong’s ex-wife Kristin is said to have told people they called the blood booster EPO “butter” because they kept it with the butter in their refrigerator.
According to the USADA file: “Later at the World Championships at Valkenberg in the Netherlands the U.S. riders arrived at their tent near the start of the race to find that Armstrong had asked his wife Kristin to wrap cortisone tablets in tin foil for him and his teammates. Kristin obliged. … One of the riders remarked ‘Lance’s wife is rolling joints.'”
“It’s a necessary evil,” Armstrong’s then wife said according to the case file.
But while some chose to look the other way, Armstrong’s former assistant Emma O’Reilly, was bothered by her conscience, despite having respect for what Armstrong could do as an athlete and a leader.
O’Reilly faced enormous backlash and threats when she first broke her silence to a journalist from the Sunday Times in 2003, recounting stories of purchasing makeup to cover up a bruise from injections on Armstrong and occasions where she believed she was being asked to be a drug courier for the team.
O’Reilly has said she never wanted to bring down Armstrong, but was bothered by what was going on and simply didn’t want to lie about it.
As a result she says Armstrong sued her and, in her words, “terrorized” her.
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio
Chuck Johnston, CNN Newswire
Ray Sanchez, CNN Newswire