(NEW YORK) — Shock and disenchantment were among the reactions from people most familiar with Lance Armstrong’s history after his on-air confession Thursday night that he had cheated during his celebrated cycling career despite the years of denial.
“I could not believe that Lance apologized,” Betsy Andreu, the wife of Armstrong’s former teammate and close friend Frankie Andreu, said Friday on ABC’s Good Morning America.
“Lance doesn’t say, ‘I’m sorry.’ Lance isn’t used to telling the truth and so I think in the days to come, in the months to come, I’m hoping that we’ll see the contrition. Actions speak louder than words so if the words aren’t empty …,” Andreu said.
ABC News consultant and USA Today columnist Christine Brennan called Armstrong’s admitting that he used performance-enhancing drugs “a major miscalculation.”
“This is like Bernie Madoff coming back after three months or Richard Nixon coming back after three months. No one wants to hear from those people so soon,” Brennan told George Stephanopoulos on Good Morning America.
“It was a lose-lose going in. I think he did more harm than good to his reputation, and he just looked cold-blooded, and cutthroat, and ruthless,” Brennan said.
Minutes after Armstrong’s confession aired on Oprah Winfrey’s OWN network, the Livestrong Foundation — the Austin-Texas-based cancer charity that he founded — released a statement expressing disappointment in their former leader.
“We at the LIVESTRONG Foundation are disappointed by the news that Lance Armstrong misled people during and after his cycling career, including us,” the statement read. “Earlier this week, Lance apologized to our staff and we accepted his apology in order to move on and chart a strong, independent course.
“Our success has never been based on one person — it’s based on the patients and survivors we serve every day, who approach a cancer diagnosis with hope, courage and perseverance.”
Travis Tygart, head of the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency, said in a statement, “Tonight, Lance Armstrong finally acknowledged that his cycling career was built on a powerful combination of doping and deceit. His admission that he doped throughout his career is a small step in the right direction. But if he is sincere in his desire to correct his past mistakes, he will testify under oath about the full extent of his doping activities.”
The agency issued an October report in which 11 former Armstrong teammates described the system under which they and Armstrong received drugs with, they say, the knowledge of their coaches and help of team physicians. As a result of the organization’s findings, Armstrong was stripped of his seven Tour de France titles. Soon, longtime sponsors including Nike began to abandon him, too.
John Fahey, president of the World Anti-Doping Agency said, “He was wrong, he cheated and there was no excuse for what he did. If he was looking for redemption, he didn’t succeed in getting that.”
Part two of the interview will air Friday night on Winfrey’s OWN network.
But more legal troubles could be on the horizon for the former Tour de France winner after this tell-all interview.
“He’s opening himself up to an enormous amount of possible civil litigation here that could lose him millions of dollars,” ABC News legal analyst Dan Abrams said.
There are at least three major civil suits in the works against Armstrong.
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