Andreu willing to cooperate with whistleblower suit against Armstrong
Former teammate expecting subpoena in US federal case
Frankie Andreu says he will cooperate fully if he is subpoenaed in the False Claims Act case against Lance Armstrong and his US Postal Service team associates. The whistleblower (qui tam) case was first was raised by Floyd Landis is 2010 after he confessed to doping while a member of the team. The government joined the suit in 2013 and although Armstrong's agent Bill Stapleton and business partner Bart Knaggs reportedly agreed to settle with the government, Armstrong's attorneys continue to fight charges they defrauded the government by cheating with performance enhancing drugs. Andreu could be given a summons to appear as early as March, but he is not sure why.
Andreu told Cyclingnews he was called several days ago by Sharif Jacob a partner at Keker & Van Nest, who are representing Armstrong in the case. Mr Jacob did not return a call from Cyclingnews at time of publication but Andreu provided details.
"I received a phone call from a guy from California [ed. where the litigation firm are based] who said he was representing Lance and he gave me a heads up and said that I would be receiving a subpoena. I asked what for and he said for the Floyd Qui Tam case," Andreu told Cyclingnews.
Andreu, who rode with Armstrong on the US Postal team during the Texan's first two Tour de France wins in 1999 and 2000 has already talked to authorities several times about his own doping past and those of his teammates. He gave a sworn testimony in the original SCA trial of the mid 2000s and then helped federal investigators in 2012 before going on to help USADA with their case against Armstrong later that year, but is unsure how he can help either side with the Federal case.
"I retired years before Floyd event started racing and doing all that. I asked why I was getting dragged into it and he didn't really have an answer. He just said that he was going to subpoena me, all the documents I have and come and ask me some questions."
In 2012, Armstrong was handed a lifetime ban and stripped of his seven Tour de France titles. Since then he has confessed to doping and has settled a case against the Sunday Times. The stakes in the whistleblower suit are much higher, however, and Armstrong could end up owing millions of dollars in damages to the US government.
"It's just another thing, another thing that I don't want to deal with. I've already had to deal with this three times. I retired two years before Floyd joined the team and all the things he has brought up," Andreu told Cyclingnews.
Andreu said that he was shocked to receive the call but would completely cooperate. He added his belief that Armstrong's decision to file a subpoena could be based on what he described as 'payback'.
"I don't think I can refuse but if it happens I'll go in and cooperate and tell everything, the same as I have before. It's just a pain. This is between Lance and the Feds and I'm just being dragged into it again. It just drags everything back up that I'm trying to put in my past and move on from."
"For me to subpoenaed doesn't make sense. It's just a little bit of payback and would be a drain on me financially and emotionally. Any information I have isn't going to help his cause and any information I have isn't going the help the Feds because a lot of the things that happened were after my time."
No reduction in ban
Frankie Andreu's wife Betsy was the first to break silence over the potential subpoena. Her comments came after Armstrong had given a long and extensive interview with the BBC over his past and the current predicament he finds himself in.
Armstrong has talked to CIRC on several occasions in a bid to reduce his lifetime ban but Betsy Andreu, who has endured a long and difficult history with Armstrong, believes that no leniency should be afforded.
"Absolutely not. He says he wasn't treated the same but that's a lie. He met with Travis [Tygart] and USADA in December of 2012 and it was to look at reducing his ban, but he said to Travis ‘you don't hold the keys to my redemption, I hold the keys to my redemption'," she said, pointing to a report posted by the Wall Street Journal by Reed Albergotti and Vanessa O'Connell.
"Why should his ban be reduced? Lets take the hospital thing," she told Cyclingnews, referencing how in 1996 she heard Armstrong tell the doctors treating him for cancer that he had used doping products. Both Andreus were present at the time.
"He denied it under oath and now he says he doesn't remember. When he was on Oprah he just said he wouldn't take it on. If he's going to lie about that why should we give leniency. He had a second chance. How many more does he want? We all make stupid decisions but he was given a second chance and still lied."
"We joked that if Frankie is subpoenaed I should represent him but Frankie said that the fear there would be that I wouldn't let him get a word in edgewise."
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Daniel Benson was the Editor in Chief at Cyclingnews.com between 2008 and 2022. Based in the UK, he joined the Cyclingnews team in 2008 as the site's first UK-based Managing Editor. In that time, he reported on over a dozen editions of the Tour de France, several World Championships, the Tour Down Under, Spring Classics, and the London 2012 Olympic Games. With the help of the excellent editorial team, he ran the coverage on Cyclingnews and has interviewed leading figures in the sport including UCI Presidents and Tour de France winners.
By Jackie Tyson