In an essay for Outside, Mike Anderson, Lance Armstrong's personal assistant from 2002-2004, tells us just how hard it is to go up against the man, but mostly the myth, of Lance Armstrong. Most of what we know about Armstrong dropping his defense against the USADA's doping allegations are the implications, like Armstrong being banned for life from cycling and being stripped of his Tours. Anderson's story is actually pretty light on actual doping accusations, though he clearly believes Armstrong doped, focusing more on how Armstrong's image and American Hero status makes it so very difficult to go up against this cycling god and not look like a villain. You could say this is Anderson's attempt at that.
There was a pattern. Anyone who challenged him or disagreed with him would eventually feel his wrath. “Lance is intimidated by you for being smarter than he is,” Knaggs said. “Lance doesn’t like Chann McRae because Chann can outrun him,” he added, saying this was no different.
I suspected Knaggs was right, and that Armstrong would take any disagreement all the way. He’d waged a war against Kristin and her dad over money and real estate during the divorce. He’d told me he would “put LeMond out of business”—referring to Greg LeMond’s bike business with Trek—because of LeMond’s public statements about his association with Ferrari. He’d ostracized former teammates who’d faithfully served him, but who had aspirations of their own and had gone to other teams.
I asked about the bike shop. “He mentioned it to me,” Knaggs said. “You and Lance can talk about that.” I went away with some hope that, having fulfilled my end of the bargain, the arrangement was still sound.
That dream crashed when I refused to sign a nondisclosure agreement that would have made me liable for a large sum of money if I even mentioned ever having worked for Armstrong.
Head on over to Outside for the full story.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.