Lausanne: Betsy Andreu, one of the first people to attest disgraced cyclist Lance Armstrong took banned substances, told AFP that despite him "trying to destroy" her life she felt like she had won by testifying to the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) on Tuesday.
Andreu, wife of former Armstrong team-mate and fellow doper Frankie, added that because of her and her husband being among the few people to testify about Armstrong and doping in the sport they were still not welcome among the American cycling fraternity.
"He (Armstrong) tried to destroy my entire life and during 10 years he tried to destroy my reputation," she told AFP after speaking in front of WADA members at a meeting in Lausanne, Switzerland. "But the truth has emerged and it's a victory for me to be here today and to talk to WADA's members," added Andreu, who has been subjected to years of pressure by Armstrong and his inner circle.
Andreu, who along with her husband testified under oath in 2006 that Armstrong was doping as early as 1996, said being cold shouldered by the cycling community was especially hurtful to her husband, who rode with Armstrong in both the Motorola team in the early 1990s and the the US Postal team from 1998-2000. "We are still personae non gratae in American cycling," she said. "Cycling is my husband's passion, he's been riding since he was 10."
Andreu, who saw her and her husband's courage in coming forward rewarded in 2012 when Armstrong was given a life ban and stripped of his seven Tour de France titles, said the impact on their three children had been to turn them away from the sport. "Education is important. They should start testing juniors," she said.
"What happened to Frankie is a lesson to my kids. He did wrong but he admitted to it. He wanted to be a clean cycler but Lance said 'No'. "We have two boys and one girl. The eldest, Frankie Junior, plays hockey, our girl plays soccer and the last one plays baseball, but no one does cycling."