By Tim Maloney, European Editor
Mike Anderson and Lance Armstrong are currently locked in a legal battle in the Texas courts. Anderson, a 33 year old from Austin, Texas was Armstrong's former bike mechanic and assistant. When he and Armstrong had a falling-out in 2004 over missing household funds and Anderson was fired, he then sued the six-time Tour winner for breach of contract. Recently, Anderson spoke to Le Monde's Stéphane Mandard, where he repeated old accusations about finding steroids (androgen) in Armstrong's Girona bathroom, that he helped Armstrong avoid a USADA out of competition test in 2004 and that Armstrong had promised Anderson and his wife that he would help them open a bike store after he retired.
Mandard asked Anderson if Armstrong's lawyers had falsely accused him of stealing funds from Armstrong and Anderson replied, "It's funny that they have accused me of extortion; I never tried to extort money from Armstrong. I just want him to keep his word; that he keeps his promise to help me and my wife to open a bicycle store. I was always loyal to even when he threatened and insult me. He's publicly defamed me and sullied my reputation. It's hard for me in Austin, because there are a lot of Lance fans here. I've become Public Enemy number 1.
"After Armstrong fired me, he and his people from his personal company Luke David LLC tried to get me to sign a confidentiality agreement. For three months wages, they tried to make me sign this agreement that I would not divulge any information about him. If I did, I would have to pay a penalty of one million dollars! They wanted me to wipe out two years of my life. Armstrong called me a lot of times at my house to pressure me to sign the confidentiality agreement. When I refused to sign, they realized I had a lot of information that could be dangerous to Armstrong, so they sued me and accused me of extortion."
Anderson is convinced that he can get revenge on Armstrong through his court case, telling Le Monde's Mandard, "I'm determined to convince the sporting authorities that Lance Armstrong is a liar. It's not only me he's fooled, he also lied to my wife and the whole world. By using prohibited substances, he's lying to cycling and to the public. And it's not only his career that's a lie, it's his whole life. No one realizes who (Lance) is. No one knows his real face. The images that are sent out by his sponsors and the people who manage his image don't correspond with reality. Armstrong isn't a good guy. And I wish I had never met him."
But Lance Armstrong has categorically denied Anderson's allegations and have filed a counter-suit against him, which is still in the Texas courts.