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Tue, 27 Apr 2021 09:00
Lance Armstrong becomes an icon around the world. But when a former cycling legend begins asking questions about doping, Armstrong goes on the attack.
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It's July 14, 1999 in the French Alps. Lance Armstrong steps onto a wide balcony at a ski resort. He's 6,000 feet above sea level and surrounded by snowcapped mountains. From here Armstrong can even look down at the clouds. He feels like a god and he knows that feeling is well earned. Earlier today Armstrong powered through the 10th stage of the Tour de France. It was a hellish ride, one that curved up through endless mountain roads. But with this stage over Armstrong now appears on track to win the whole tour. It's his third time competing in the Tour de France, but finally this is his moment to be crowned the greatest cyclist in the world. Throughout this tour Armstrong made a vow to himself. He wouldn't let anyone stop him from taking the trophy, which is why right now he needs to take care of some business. He learned about a threat that's looming on the horizon. One that could derail his entire career, and Armstrong knows he needs to get ahead of it before it's too late. Armstrong steps into the restaurant inside the ski resort. He spots his teammates who are all sitting at a long table. But there's also another person at the table, a balding man wearing a thick gray sweater. In front of him is a small tape recorder. His name is Samuel Apt, and he's a reporter with The New York Times. Armstrong invited Apt to join him at this dinner, and while the reporter doesn't know it, Armstrong needs to use him to protect himself. Armstrong approaches the table and takes a seat. Hey Sam, glad you can make it. Well, I'm good to start this interview whenever you are. Yeah, of course, Lance. But first, I gotta say, I'm surprised you wanted to do an interview. I mean, we're in the middle of a race. I don't want to sound too cocky, but come on. You really see someone else taking first? Well, obviously, Lance. Yeah, I think you got it. And it's a big deal. You'll be the first American to win since Le Mans. And Le Mans didn't have to come back from cancer. No, no, he didn't. That's true. Well, Sam, I'm glad you see that, because here's the thing. It seems like some people aren't so happy about the win. I learned that they're spreading some lies, saying that I juice. The reporter scribbles something in his no pen. That's good Armstrong thinks. He's taken the first piece of bait. It's not that Armstrong wants the New York Times to investigate whether he's actually doping. It's just the opposite. He's trying to get ahead of the issue, to get the newspapers to take his side, because he has a problem. He was just tipped off that one of his urine samples contained traces of performance enhancing drugs. Now, a French newspaper is going to report this. So Armstrong needs to get some good press from the New York Times, something he can use to defend himself against the attack. Apt, the reporter finishes taking notes and looks up from Miss Notepad. Well, Le Mans, who says you're doping? I haven't heard anything. Start making calls. It's out there. But come on, we both know there's nothing true about the allegation. Well, okay. Le Mans, but tell me, if they don't have proof, what do you have to worry about? Look, you've covered cycling for a long time, right? You know the Europeans hate the Americans. They think it's their sport. So would you put a past these people to just a make up, some kind of evidence? Well, and since it's true, the Europeans are protective about cycling. But fabricating evidence? Yeah, I don't know about that. Sam, don't be naive about this. They're trying to frame me. I know it, and I think you know it. And it's a story, one that you should follow up on. The reporter looks away for a moment. Armstrong can tell that he's chewing this over. Then after turns back and picks up his pen. Well, I guess he could be right. I do appreciate you coming to me with this story. But I have to ask, can you unequivocally deny that you use performance enhancing drugs? Sam, come on. I've been on my deathbed. I would never, never be stupid enough to take those kind of drugs. Never. Okay. Well, I'll check it out, see if there's anything behind it. But thanks for the tip. And more importantly, good luck. Good luck with the race. Apt shuts off his recorder and rises. As he walks out of the restaurant, Armstrong tries to hold back a giant grin. He's confident that his plan was a success. Once again, he reminded a friendly journalist that he should be treated sympathetically. That Armstrong is a hero who overcame a life threatening illness. And any accusations of doping are nothing more than lies fueled by jealousy. Lance knows it's a good story. And the American public will eat it up. But the truth is Armstrong has been doping almost every day for years. And he's not planning to stop. Not when he's becoming the best cyclist in the world. And certainly not when he's this close to winning the Tour de France. American scandal is sponsored by the new ABC drama Alaska Daily. 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In the late 1990s, Lance Armstrong rose to the top in the world of professional cycling. He'd survived a fight with cancer and still managed to crush the competition. But what few people knew is that Lance Armstrong was using performance enhancing drugs. And new recruits to his team were expected to follow suit. Armstrong knew that if the truth came out, his career and reputation would be ruined. So he embarked on a ruthless crusade to conceal his drug use. He lied to and manipulated the press. And he made sure that anyone who spoke out against him would live to regret it. This is Episode 2. Work Hard, Play Hard. It's August 1999 in Washington, DC. Lance Armstrong strides down the corridor surrounded by men and women in suits. They turn a corner and suddenly he can feel something shift. Everything seems more quiet and serious. Armstrong turns to a nearby woman and asks if this is it. She nods, they're now in the west wing of the White House. Armstrong shakes his head and disbelief. For some reason he can't stop smiling. It's not only that just a month ago he won the Tour de France. That victory was a highlight of his entire life. But now everything has begun moving so fast. In the past few days he's been making public speeches. He's been interviewed on talk shows. Armstrong even rang the opening bell at the New York Stock Exchange. But now as he walks through the west wing of the White House, his success feels even bigger. Armstrong was invited to speak with Al Gore, the vice president of the United States. Armstrong knows that he's become a national symbol of resilience and hope. And he now commands the attention of the most important leaders in America. And that's good news. Because if Armstrong can persuade someone like Al Gore to publicly support him, then he'll win over the media even more. Reporters won't go digging too far into his past and his use of performance in enhancing drugs will remain a secret. Soon Armstrong reaches the Roosevelt Room in the west wing. He takes a seat. A moment later the door swings open and vice president Al Gore enters the room. Armstrong feels a little sheepish. This is one of the most powerful people in the world. But Gore helps put Armstrong at ease and congratulates him on his win at the Tour de France. For a few minutes, the two discuss cycling and all the struggles Armstrong has faced as a cancer survivor. It's then that Armstrong sees an opening to lobby Al Gore for his public support. Armstrong tells the vice president that he needs his help. His charity, the Lance Armstrong Foundation, helps raise awareness about cancer. Recently, it's had a surge in donations. But Armstrong says he wants to take things a step further. And he needs the public support of people like the vice president. Gore nods on his face grow stern. And right away Armstrong realizes that the easy conversation is over. It's time to negotiate with the vice president of the United States. Armstrong begins heaping praise on Gore. He says it's great news that Gore is now running for president in the next election. He'd make an excellent leader. And Armstrong adds he has a suggestion. If he's elected, Gore should make the fight against cancer a top priority. Gore nods and in a noncommittal way he says he'll do everything he can if he wins. Armstrong consents that Gore wants to move on to another subject. But he knows he can't stop now, not if he wants the support of such a powerful figure. So Armstrong tells Gore that he feels an obligation to stand up for people who are battling cancer. That's part of the reason why he pushed so hard to win the Tour de France. He wanted to show people with cancer that they could still be winners. Armstrong then hammers home the final point. He may be famous, but he's only a cyclist. Gore could be in the next president. And in that position, Gore could really make a difference if he prioritized the fight against cancer. The vice president leans back thinking for what seems an eternity. But then finally he smiles and nods. He says that if he's elected president, he promises he'll do everything in his power to help Armstrong's cause. Armstrong thanks Gore and the meeting comes to an end. A few moments later Armstrong walks again through the West Wing and heads toward an exit. As Armstrong steps out onto the street, he finds that once again he can't stop smiling. He's the most famous cyclist in the world, a national icon. And now he's about to get the public support of the man many say will be the next president of the United States. So now nothing stands in the way. A year later Lance Armstrong lies in bed in a hotel suite in southeast France. Across the room, TV is replaying highlights from today's race in the Tour de France. Once again, Armstrong is in the lead. He's on track to defend his title from last year. But Armstrong barely notices the TV or all the glowing coverage of his performance. Instead he's focused on the needle that's now hooked up to his arm connected to a tube which leads to a plastic bag that's full of blood. Armstrong watches the bag run empty as the blood is transferred into his veins. Armstrong then looks across the room at two of his teammates. They're also hooked up to needles and bags of blood. But one of the teammates Tyler Hamilton looks concerned and upset. Armstrong realizes that once again he needs to step up and be a leader for his teammates. Armstrong sits up on the bed. Hey Tyler, you got a funny look on your face. What's wrong? Oh nothing Lance just... How much longer is this going to take? I don't know, maybe a few minutes. But look, you got to relax. No, it's just... Lance, this is risky. I mean, we don't really need to do this, do we? The team can probably win without the blood doping. Tyler probably isn't good enough for me. We have to win. Don't call it blood doping, okay? It's not doping. It's just a transfusion. Well, I don't know what the difference is. The difference is this machine extracts our own blood. And a few weeks later we take that blood and we put it back into our own bodies. And boom, extra mass for red blood cells. And Tyler, what does that do for us? It gives us better endurance and performance. That's right Tyler, endurance, performance. Those sound like good things don't they? Remember, we're racing the Tour de France. Hamilton shakes his head and looks away. Yeah, I don't know Lance. I just don't like it. You know a lot of teams, they'd love to have a set of plate this. Instead they're injecting themselves with God knows what also they can be faster. And they're praying that the stuff doesn't show up in the urine test. But not the three of us. We don't have to worry about that because transfusions are undetectable. It's our own blood for Christ's sake. Yeah, I get it. So if you get it, then you also get that nobody will know we're doing it. Unless one of us talks. But no one here is thinking of talking. Are they? Oh Lance, come on, of course not. Great. So is there any more discussion? Because I got a rest. We all got a rest. We got more stages and I'm planning to win. Armstrong's team H shaped their heads. And with that, the discussion is over. Armstrong lies back down and relaxes. He knows he's done his job. This is what it means to be a leader. Sometimes your teammates get scared. Sometimes they don't know what to do. But a leader like Armstrong has to remain clear headed and focused on victory. Even if that means acting like a bully every now and then. Because if Armstrong wins the Tour de France, no one will care if he was a little rough on his teammates. If he pushed them too hard to win. None of that matters when you're holding cycling's most coveted trophy for the second year in a row. It's July 17th, 2001 in U.S. France. Lance Armstrong hurdles over a smooth black road as the wind cuts against his face. He's on his bike, standing on his pedals, beginning to climb a hill through craggy mountains. It's steep and punishing. But right now Armstrong feels unstoppable. As Armstrong rounds a bend, he feels driven by his endless desire to win. He's now 10 days into this year's Tour de France. Once again, he appears destined to win. That would give him three straight victories and cycling's most prestigious race. Only one other American, Greg Le Monde, has ever scored the trophy three times. Armstrong clenches the handlebars as he surges to the head of the palatine, the cycling term for a pack of riders. As he races forward, he can tell that his rivals are gunning for him. There are nearly 150 other cyclists, and he's certain that each of them wants to end his winning streak at the Tour de France. Armstrong doesn't have any plans to lose, but suddenly he senses someone creeping up from behind him. He looks over an astunt to see four cyclists speeding past him. One of them even chuckles, mocking him. Then the cyclist pedal faster and leave Armstrong behind. Armstrong is enraged as the riders get farther ahead. He can't believe he let this happen. He won't let himself lose, not after enduring such a hard year. Armstrong had a terrible back injury and even faced an investigation over performance enhancing drugs. That investigation petered out because of lack of hard evidence, as well as Armstrong's strenuous denials. But he hasn't fought this hard and climbed his way back only to be left in the dust. For Lance Armstrong, this is his Tour de France. And he's going to win this stage no matter what. Armstrong plumps his legs harder. The spectators on the side of the road begin to blur into colorful streaks. Soon he catches up to the other cyclists. One of the riders turns around and his smug expression quickly turns to panic. Armstrong grins and then speeds up even more. He feels like a predator closing in on a kill. The other racer leans to make it harder for Armstrong to pass, but Armstrong anticipates the maneuver and glides past him on the opposite side. Armstrong keeps peddling harder, pushing and pushing. He feels like there's no limit to his power. Corsing through his body is testosterone, EPO, human growth hormone. It feels like there's a current of electricity crackling in his veins. Armstrong then passes two more cyclists, shock on their face as he carines by. He can hear the crowd roaring in a frenzy. Finally, there's just one cyclist ahead, a German named Jan Uruk. He won gold and silver medals in last year's Olympics, and maybe the only cyclist who Armstrong thinks could possibly beat him. Armstrong pushes himself further, pulling up next to Uruk. When the road suddenly becomes a steep incline, Armstrong looks over and sees the German racer gasping for breath, drenched in sweat. As the two rides side by side, Armstrong looks directly into Uruk's eyes and shoots him a look of warning. Uruk should never again try to pass Armstrong. He was a big mistake. Then Armstrong whips his head back around and takes off. He advances into the lead, certain that he's going to win today's stage, and he has no doubt he'll win the entire Tour de France. Armstrong moves back into the lead. He's a smart racer. He's skilled at reading the road and other cyclists. He's trained harder and longer than most. And yet Armstrong knows it's the performance enhancing drugs that have put him where he is now. At the head of the pack, favored to win his third Tour de France. It's the drugs that have given him his speed and strength and wealth and celebrity. Armstrong knows it's the drugs and that's why he can never get caught cheating. What if your family was the victim of a home invasion? Or you woke up in the morgue? Or you were seriously injured miles from help? What would you do? This is actually happening. This is actually happening brings listeners extraordinary true stories from the people who lived them. You'll hear stories about conflict, turmoil, or threats that dramatically alter the course of someone's life. Each episode is an exploration of the human spirit and how survivors manage to overcome hardship and move on with their lives. Even thriving afterward. The new season of this is actually a new season. And if this new season isn't enough, you can listen to more than 120 exclusive episodes available only to Wondry Plus subscribers. Join Wondry Plus on Apple Podcasts or on the Wondry app. It's late July 2001 in Western Switzerland. Inside the headquarters of the International Cycling Union, Lance Armstrong walks into an office. He meets a pair of scientists who give Armstrong a stern look and invite him to take a seat. Armstrong can tell something is wrong. The Union, which is also known as the UCI, sets the rules for international cycling. They're also involved in drug testing. Armstrong just won his third tour to France, but if the UCI scientists are concerned about something, it could be bad news. Armstrong knows that now there's only one thing to do. Act tough and try to intimidate the scientists. So he says he's not going to take a seat. He's here on time for the meeting they called. He doesn't have time to chit chat. One of the scientists frowns. I'm just fine. He'll get to the point. Drug testers found traces of a rhithropoate in an Armstrong urine sample. The hormone, also known as EPO, is a band performance enhancing drug. And so they need to discuss the findings. Armstrong feels his eye twitch. Then his mind begins to race as he searches for the right response. He knows that whatever he says next could change the course of his career. But before he can say anything, the other scientists says that even though they found traces of EPO, Armstrong's levels were just below the legal limits. There was no actual violation. Armstrong tries to contain his immense relief. He did use EPO. He knows he's guilty. And he also knows why the test result remains low. He injected the hormone directly into a vein instead of under his skin. That makes it harder to detect. Armstrong realizes he needs to leave. The scientists are still discussing his test results. And if he sticks around, they're going to keep asking questions. He might say something he shouldn't. So Armstrong thanks them for their time and explains that he has to be going. Before he can step out of the office, one of the scientists stops him. He tells Armstrong that he should consider this as a warning. From now on, they'll be watching him more closely. If he tests positive in the future, he could be banned from cycling for the rest of his life. Armstrong nods as the weight of the threat sinks in. Then he turns and leaves. A minute later, he reaches the elevator and jabs the down button with a shaky hand. He told himself he would never get caught. He thought he did everything right. But this was too close. And it didn't sound like this is the end of his problems with the UCI scientists. Armstrong will have to be more cautious. No cutting corners, no taking risks. And if caution isn't good enough, if someone is trying to expose him, then Armstrong will have to take other measures. Weeks later, Greg Lamon sits on the patio of his large home in Medina, Minnesota. It's mid afternoon and outside the bird's chirp, as Lamon flips through the sports section of today's paper. Lamon couldn't be happier. He just turned 40, but unlike most people his age, he doesn't need to work. In fact, it's been almost 20 years since Lamon felt the pressure to make a dollar. He's a cycling legend and a three time winner of the Tour de France. By the time he was 23, he'd made enough money to last a lifetime. So Lamon has learned to enjoy the simple things in life, like reclining on a patio and flipping through the paper on a lazy summer day. Lamon feels like he's slipping into a nap when suddenly the phone rings. He considers letting it go, whatever it is he can take care of it later. But the phone keeps ringing, and so Lamon forces himself up and grabs it from the table. When he answers, he hears the familiar voice of David Walsh, a journalist who writes for the Sunday Times, a newspaper in England. The reporter asks Lamon if he has a moment to give a comment for a story. Lamon has a feeling he knows what's coming. It's probably something about Lance Armstrong, who's now tied with Lamon after winning his third Tour de France. Sure enough, the reporter brings up Armstrong and adds there's no reason Armstrong couldn't beat the record next year, and overtake Lamon as the greatest American cyclist of all time. And so the reporter says he wants to know how Lamon feels about all this. Lamon hesitates. He knows the reporter is looking for a good quote, something that stirs up drama, but he has no interest in taking the bait. Because while he is spoken with Armstrong and finds the man to be rude and self absorbed, Greg Lamon has no interest in being partied with these kind of news stories. So Lamon tells the reporter that records are made to be broken. He wishes Armstrong great success. Walsh chuckles and tells Lamon to cut the crap. He knows that Lamon has heard the rumors, people are talking, and they're saying Lance Armstrong dopes. Lamon pauses again. He had a feeling this was going to come up, but he always sticks by his principles. He tells the truth and admits he has heard some gossip, but he says there's no proof of anything. And as far as he's concerned, Lance Armstrong is just a great cyclist who overcame tremendous adversity. Lamon concludes by saying that this is his official stance on Armstrong until he sees hard proof otherwise. There's silence on the other end of the line, and for a moment Lamon thinks Walsh might have hung up. But then the reporter says that hard evidence may exist, it's just that people don't want to take an honest look at it. Walsh goes on saying Lamon should look at new reports coming out of the European press, who recently uncovered links between Armstrong and Dr. McCaley Ferrari. Ferrari, as the whole world knows, is an Italian who specializes in doping. And Walsh says that with disconnection, it's all but confirmed that Armstrong uses performance enhancing drugs. Lamon takes a moment to compose his thoughts. He doesn't want to create trauma, but he also doesn't want to lie. So he admits that disconnection to the infamous Dr. Ferrari is troubling. Lamon figures there are two possibilities. If Lance is truly clean, then he'll have staged the greatest comeback in the history of sports. And if he isn't clean, then it would be the greatest fraud. Walsh thanks Lamon and says that's all he needs. The two hang up. As Lamon sits on his porch, he gets back to reading. But he can't calm his mind, and he keeps replaying the conversation he just had. He hopes he did the right thing. He doesn't want to start an unnecessary controversy. But for Lamon, honesty has always been the best policy. He just hopes that Lance Armstrong feels the same way. A week later, Greg Lamon is sitting in his dining room reviewing a contract. Lamon may be a former star cyclist, but he still makes a lot of money from endorsements. He has a deal with Trek, the bicycle company, which for years has manufactured road bikes named after Lamon. It's been a lucrative deal and a good source of income that Lamon doesn't plan to lose anytime soon. Lamon is reading through the paperwork when his phone rings. He stands, walks to the kitchen and picks it up. Hello. Hey Greg Lamon, it's Lance Armstrong. Lance, hey, how are you doing? Well, I was doing great, and I read your interview with David Walsh. Lamon scrunches up his highs. He prayed this moment wouldn't come. Okay Lance, let's talk about it. No, I think you've done enough talking. Now you just get to sit there and listen, okay? Lance, look. No, you look. I raised clean, alright? Who the hell do you think you are making a suggestion like that? I didn't suggest anything. Lance, I only said... I know what you said, Greg. It's in black and white. Now I'm telling you to keep your mouth shut. Lance, I wasn't trying to offend you, but I think you're out of line talking to me like this. Oh, I'm the one out of line. You know something, I could make things really difficult for you. I could pick up the phone, make a few calls, and you know what you've got? Problems. You deal with Trek? Gone. Other endorsements? Gone. If I wanted, I could find ten people who'd say you're the one who took EPO. I can ruin you. Hey, I'm not gonna just sit here and let you threaten me. Now, what are you gonna do about it? You're not gonna do anything. You and I both know it. You're a washed up old athlete, and I'm about to take your record. But remember what I said. These last few crumbs of fame, your endorsement deals, I can take them away. This is your first and last warning. For a moment, Le Mans stares at the phone stunned. He's never received this kind of threat. Never been spoken to with such animosity. And he never wanted to think that Lance Armstrong duped. But now with this kind of reaction, there's only one conclusion. Lance Armstrong uses performance enhancing drugs. Nothing else could have stirred up a response like that. Greg Blomond doesn't want a public fight with Armstrong. But he also won't let himself be silenced. He didn't win the Tour de France three times by letting himself be intimidated, or by using drugs. So if more evidence surfaces about Armstrong and drugs, Le Mans will keep speaking out. This isn't a question about records or legacies. For Greg Le Mans, it's a question of right and wrong. The It's December 2001 in Austin, Texas. The night has gotten late and crickets chirp in the cool winter air. Everything is quiet on a local highway when suddenly a car's engine comes roaring from the distance. The car flies down the highway, music blaring from its open windows. Car rounds bend and picks up even more speed as it's tires squeal. Inside the car, Floyd Landis grips his seat and holds on for his life. Landis is a professional cyclist. He's used to soaring down the open road at top speeds, but not like this. The driver of the car seemed out of control. Landis wants to speak up to tell him to slow down, be careful. But it's hard to push back when the driver is Lance Armstrong. Landis looks around the car. He's surrounded by his teammates and they seem just as terrified as he is. Landis looks up and sees Armstrong clearing in the rearview mirror. Oh, you nervous, Landis? No, no. The first day of training just took you down to be meant. Normally, a night like tonight, I'd be resting off getting ready for practice tomorrow. Don't worry about tomorrow. I believe in working hard, but you also got to play hard. That's why we're going, oh, damn, there's my exit. The car burles down an off ran and Landis grips his seat even tighter. But Armstrong laughs as he pilots the car around a turn. Anyways, that's why we're going out tonight, a night on the town. And here we are, our first stop, boys. Armstrong slows down and pulls into a parking spot, which leads to a lone gray building with a flashing neon sign. It's a strip club. Landis quietly groans. He grew up in a religious family and this is not his idea of a good night out. But Landis doesn't think he can say anything, especially not when Armstrong turns back to the group grinning. Alright, everybody out. Let's go have some fun. The team mates all cheer and get out of the car. Landis realizes he's going to have to go along. It's his team too. So he follows Armstrong up to the entrance and past a smiling bouncer. Together the group enters the dimly lit club. Landis steps past the bouncer and tries to keep his eyes trained on the floor. But someone claps him on the shoulder. He looks up. Landis Armstrong is holding out a few $20 bills. Hey Landis, you got to loosen up. That's how you win the big races. Trust me. Look, Landis, I appreciate it, but I'm married. So we're half the guys in here, including me. Yeah, I just don't do this sort of thing. Well, Landis, you do now. Work hard, play hard. That's how we do things. Damn it. Go out a good time. Landis swallows. He knows Armstrong is the team leader and the best cyclist in the world. And as a new guy on the team, he should do what Armstrong says. It's uncomfortable, but it's a fact of team cycling. So Landis thanks Armstrong for the cash and makes his way to the bar. Tonight he'll do what it takes to keep Landis Armstrong happy. He only hopes it doesn't go too far. Several hours later, the party moves to a nearby office building that belongs to Landis Armstrong's agent. Inside, Floyd Landis staggers down a hallway. The night has gotten very late, and now he just wants to go home. But he'll stick around until Armstrong decides the party's over. As Landis looks for a bathroom, he hears voices coming from one of the office suites. He peers into the room and is shocked by what he sees. Landis Armstrong is partying with two women who are completely naked. And on one of the desks is a white powder that looks a lot like cocaine. Landis stands there staring till Armstrong notices. Landis freezes. He probably wasn't supposed to see this. And he's worried about what Armstrong will do next. But all Armstrong does is smile and close the door. Landis hears giggling as he walks away. Suddenly, he's hit with a feeling of dread. He'd heard all the rumors about Landis Armstrong, but he never believed him. He trusted the man, and like most Americans, he considered Armstrong a hero. But Landis is reconsidering. If this is how Armstrong lives, then it isn't too hard to imagine that he would use drugs to win races and that he'd lie about it. Landis wipes his tired eyes and continues looking for a bathroom. He reminds himself that he hasn't seen any actual proof that Armstrong uses performance enhancing drugs. And he hopes that day will never come. Because if he does, then Landis may get roped into it too. And if that happens, Landis can only pray that he'll have the strength and courage to do the right thing. It's late July 2004 in the Dynamanosota. Right now, Greg Lamond is staring at a piece of paper that could change his life. He might be about to lose his business deals and his income, all because he decided to stand up and tell the truth. Lamond shakes his head and gets back into the moment. And then he turns to his lawyer. Together, the two of them have a lot to sort out. Lamond knows he'll have to explain the full story, how it all came to this. But no matter how he tells it, Greg Lamond knows the story begins and ends with Landis Armstrong. It started three years ago when Lamond was living a happy life. He was semi retired and making good money from his endorsement deal with Trek, the bike manufacturer. Lamond was a cycling legend who had won the Tour de France three times and so Trek capitalized on his fame and created a line of road bikes named after him. But then everything changed after Lamond spoke with the reporter. He didn't outright accuse Landis Armstrong of doping, but he admitted he was troubled by Armstrong's connection to an infamous doctor who was known for doping. Soon after, he got a call from Armstrong himself who threatened to destroy him. Lamond was shaken, but more than anything, he realized that he had to keep looking for the truth and speaking out when he found it. Years passed without much of an issue, but just a couple of weeks ago, Armstrong was on the verge of winning his sixth Tour de France. Once again, Lamond was approached by a newspaper looking for an interview. It's calling it off, but this time it was a French paper that had long opposed Armstrong. When Lamond spoke with the reporter, he suggested that Armstrong could be doping. The quotes made headlines and Lamond told himself he wouldn't care if he got another angry phone call from Armstrong. He spoke the truth, and that's what mattered. The angry call never came, but something else did. That's what Lamond is holding in his hands right now. A notice from Trek Bicycle Corporation. The company has informed Lamond that they're terminating their partnership with him. The reason they're parting ways is that Lamond spoke out against Lance Armstrong. Lamond reads the letter, feeling shell shocked. Trek has sold their Lamond bicycles for years, they're a successful product, and the partnership has been lucrative. He doesn't want to lose this deal, so he asks his lawyer if there's anything they can do. The lawyer says it's pretty clear Armstrong's putting pressure on Trek using the company to get revenge on Lamond. It's payback for talking to the reporters. Lamond knows all this, but he didn't think Trek would be so afraid of Armstrong to fall in line to cancel their partnership. Lamond buries his face in his hands. He can't remember the last time he felt this miserable and powerless. He tried to do what was right, and because of that, he's being punished. Lamond looks back to his lawyer and asks what, if anything, they can do to fight this. The lawyer sees the dejection in Lamond's face, and after a moment he explains that they can always fight. That's what the law is about, but he can't guarantee the win. Lamond has worked hard for everything he's ever gotten. It's impossible to believe that one man Lance Armstrong could just take it away. But Lamond realizes that Armstrong can never take away his integrity. Whatever happens with Trek, he'll continue to stand up to Lance Armstrong. Not just for himself, but for cycling, a sport that he loves and feels obligated to protect. Lamond tells his lawyer he's ready to take action. Lance Armstrong is a liar and a fraud. He has to be held accountable for his actions. Greg Lamond is going to be the person to do it. He isn't scared. He won't back down. Instead, Greg Lamond is prepared to go to war. From Wondry, this is episode two of five of Lance Armstrong from American Scandal. On the next episode, Greg Lamond struggles to find allies in his fight against Lance Armstrong, and Floyd Landis is caught in a difficult position, one that leads to a downward spiral. If you'd like to learn more about Lance Armstrong, we recommend the book, Wheelman, by Reed, Albergati, and Vanessa Occonnell. This episode contains reenactments and traumatized details, and while in most cases we can't know exactly what was said. All of the dramatizations are based on historical research. American Scandal has hosted, edited, and executed to produce by me, Lindsey Graham, for airship. Audio editing by Molly Bach, sound design by Derek Barons, music by Lindsey Graham. This episode is written by Hannibal Diaz, edited by Christina Malsberger. Our senior producer is Gabe Riven, executive producers, our Stephanie Gens, Jenny Lauer Beckman, and her nonlopes for Wondry.