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New evidence in Lance Armstrong doping case, alleged witness says

The woman says she has given a federal investigator her account of hearing the superstar cyclist confess to doctors about use of performance-enhancing drugs. She says voice mails bolstering her claim are in government hands.

September 01, 2010|By Lance Pugmire and Diane Pucin

The woman who claims to have heard Lance Armstrong tell cancer doctors in a hospital room in 1996 he had previously used performance-enhancing drugs has repeated her account to the federal investigator leading a probe into whether the seven-time Tour de France winner and other cyclists doped.

Betsy Andreu also told The Times that the government has obtained voice mails left on Andreu's message machine by Stephanie McIlvain, a representative of Oakley Inc., a longtime Armstrong sponsor. Andreu said those recordings indicated McIlvain lied when testifying that she hadn't heard Armstrong admit using drugs. Repeated attempts to reach McIlvain were unsuccessful. McIIvain was with Andreu and her cyclist husband, Frankie, when they said they heard Armstrong confess to doping.

Andreu's claim is not new — she, her husband and McIlvain were all deposed as part of a legal fight between Armstrong and a Texas company that refused to pay him a $5-million bonus for his sixth Tour de France victory.

Armstrong, who won a 2006 settlement in the legal dispute, has said he never doped.

The voice mails were originally subpoenaed as part of a civil trial involving another former Tour de France winner, Greg LeMond. Betsy Andreu said the recordings aligned with other telephone conversations in which McIlvain "was apologizing to me for lying" about the hospital-room testimony. Andreu said she has also turned over unspecified documents to the Armstrong probe's lead investigator from the Food and Drug Administration, Jeff Novitzky.

McIlvain's attorney, Tom Beinart, said he knew nothing of the purported voice mails but that his client would cooperate in the investigation in an "appropriate manner."

Mark Fabiani, who recently joined Armstrong's legal team, said Andreus' account was "preposterous." "The other six to seven people in that hospital room either say it didn't happen or have no recollection of any such conversation," he added. "The Andreus are the only persons who say it happened."

McIlvain has been subpoenaed by the federal grand jury, according to sources close to the case who were not authorized to speak because of the ongoing investigation.

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