May 31, 2020
Betsy Andreu was there when Lance Armstrong first admitted to doping in a hospital room in Indianapolis while preparing for cancer treatment. She heard him rattle off the performance-enhancing drugs (PEDs) that he used well before winning his first tour including EPO, HGH, cortisone, and steroids. She was shocked not just by this revelation but also by the lack of surprise exhibited by everyone else in the room including his coach, business associates, sponsors, and yes, her now-husband Frankie who was one of Lance's cycling teammates. That moment would change her life forever.
Growing up in Dearborn, Michigan, however, there was no way to know the path that would lead Betsy Andreu to become one of the most important truth teller's in the Lance Armstrong story. She came from humble beginnings growing up in a Slavic family there, but it gave her a foundation built on principle that has never wavered. She has always told the truth about what she heard and saw because it was the right thing to do.
In this interview, Kara and Shanna begin by understanding Betsy's background and history built on principle. Then, they discuss her relationship with Frankie including how it began and how it survived the revelations about Lance as well as Frankie's own EPO use. Betsy tells the story of the moment when she knew Frankie himself was using PEDs as he led a climb in the Tour de France in 1999, the year of Lance's first Tour victory. Plus, she discusses the aftermath and an argument with Frankie at Lance's victory party which would ultimately lead to Frankie leaving the team, effectively ending his cycling career.
Finally, Betsy discusses her journey as a truth teller including the reasons why she told the truth about what she heard in that hospital room and all of the very real personal pain and suffering she and Frankie have endured as a result of the backlash from Lance and his team. As a contributor to it, she also provides her perspective on part 1 of the Lance Armstrong 30 for 30 documentary on ESPN and what she is expecting from part 2.
Betsy Andreu might be an unlikely hero in this story, but she is a hero indeed. We need more like her who are willing to stand on principle and tell the truth no matter the circumstances.