Cycling's once-golden boy Lance Armstrong may be ready to open up about his past mistakes now, but one of his former assistants says that the seven-time Tour de France winner was very purposeful about his actions during the height of his success.
"He made the mistakes, but there were guys behind the scenes who built him up, who sold that lie to the public," Mike Anderson said in a sit-down interview on Good Morning America Wednesday, Jan. 16. "It was a concerted effort to make a pot of money, and those of us who called him out were destroyed."
Anderson, who first joined Armstrong’s staff in 2002, added that he was "witness to [Armstrong's] cruelty on a number of occasions" as a result of the athlete's attempts to keep his lies under wraps.
His comments bolster previous claims that Armstrong was not quite the all-American hero he was made out to be.
Former teammate Frankie Andreu opened up to The Associated Press about his own dealings with Armstrong.
"For my wife and I, we've been attacked and ripped apart by Lance and all of his people, and all his supporters repeatedly for a long time," he said. "I just wish they wouldn't have been so blind and opened up their eyes earlier to all the signs that indicated there was deception there, so that we wouldn't have had to suffer as much."
"And it's not only us," he added, "he's ruined a lot of people's lives."
Armstrong, 41, sat down for an interview with Oprah Winfrey earlier this week that is set to air in a two-part special on Thursday, Jan. 17 and Friday, Jan. 18. Though the details of the conversation have yet to emerge, Winfrey has hinted that Armstrong will fess up to some of the doping allegations he's been hit with in the past few months.
"I would say he didn't come clean in the manner I expected," she said on CBS' This Morning on Tuesday, Jan. 15, admitting that she was "riveted by some of his answers."
"He was just ready … He had certainly prepared himself for this moment," she said.
Armstrong apologized to a group of about 100 members of his Livestrong Foundation staff one day before his revealing interview with Winfrey, but his words may be falling on deaf ears.
The disgraced cyclist stepped down as the foundation's chairman last October amid doping allegations, which he denied at the time.
"Lance knows everything that happened," Andreu told The AP. "He's the one who knows who did what because he was the ringleader. It's up to him how much he wants to expose."
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