(NaturalNews) For many of his most ardent fans and supporters, the idea that former cyclist and cancer survivor Lance Armstrong is anything other than an athletic god whose generous contributions to humanity are unmatched and undefiled is a tough pill to swallow. But as the shockingly dirty details of Armstrong's true character continue to seep out from a multitude of independent leaks, it is becoming nearly impossible for anyone to legitimately and honestly defend the man, despite his organization's apparent work on behalf of cancer victims throughout the years.
In a recent piece published in Outside Magazine, Mike Anderson, a former friend and personal assistant to Armstrong, opines not only about his own real-life nightmare of having been spurned and burned by the now-stripped Tour de France cyclist for questioning his behavior, but also about how numerous others whose consciences got caught in the fray of Armstrong's public-versus-private life ended up becoming victims in the long, drawn-out war by Armstrong to conceal his true identity, which included his alleged doping activities.
Armstrong demonized everyone who disagreed with him or tried to hold him accountable, says Anderson
Out of a fear of being eternally blacklisted from the mainstream cycling culture -- and also legally deterred by the non-disclosure agreement he says Armstrong coerced him into signing towards the end of their relationship -- Anderson for years has kept quiet about what he says really took place behind the scenes during his time as Armstrong's personal assistant. But his story, which will surely come as a shock to many, is definitely one worthy of investigation.
Based on Anderson's account, the Lance Armstrong that cycling fans have grown to respect and idolize over the years appears to be a fraud. Even from his earliest days as a budding, teenage cyclist, there are many observers, including Anderson, who claim that Armstrong's character was marked by arrogance and recklessness, two traits that he apparently carried with him into his later years as he routinely attempted to demonize and silence all who disagreed with or questioned his behavior, according to Anderson.
For Anderson, such observed behavior in Armstrong included crashing a older friend's car when he was younger and refusing to apologize for it, and later in a separate incident destroying the reputation of a former teammate's wife who, after being subpoenaed to give a sworn statement as part of a legal dispute, had the audacity to tell what she says was the truth about Armstrong's doping activities during the 2004 Tour de France.
Armstrong, according to Anderson, took every opportunity not only to deny all doping allegations made against him, but also to retaliate, big time, against those who made them. As Anderson puts it, Armstrong always followed up his denials with "harsh attacks on the messenger," which as we have witnessed in recent months, is the same tactic Armstrong is using against his current accusers, which include the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA).
Armstrong used his fame, status to betray his close friend and renege on a personal promise
Anderson's interactions with Armstrong began not long after their paths crossed in 2001 in Austin, Texas, where Anderson had been working as a head bike mechanic. Anderson's shop maintained one of Armstrong's road bikes, which sparked a casual friendship between the two. That friendship eventually turned into a partnership of sorts, in which Anderson agreed upon Armstrong's request to be his personal assistant. In return, Armstrong would later help Anderson launch his own Armstrong-endorsed bike shop.
Since the two were buddies, Anderson never thought twice about having Armstrong sign a contractual agreement about the future bike shop. An informal email letter would suffice, as Anderson was far more innocent and trusting at that time than he should have been. Anderson also had no reason to suspect that the cycling superstar would eventually lash out against him.
So for several years, Anderson says he faithfully helped out with the affairs of Armstrong's career and personal life, often working many more hours than his original job description had intended. Since Armstrong was a friend and cycling pal, Anderson claims he happily fulfilled the duties that were requested of him with the expectation that Armstrong would later live up to his promises.
Armstrong never did, however. Shortly after Armstrong's ugly divorce with Kristin Richard in 2003, Anderson says he was asked to travel to Spain with Armstrong, which is where Anderson says he began to see that Armstrong "might be dishonest in ways that mattered." According to Anderson, Armstrong routinely threw cash around like it was nothing, for instance, cash that he allegedly received "under the table" for post-Tour races.
As Anderson became more embroiled in the daily gallivanting habits of Armstrong, he also stumbled upon the cycling legend's apparent doping habits. Besides working with the Italian physician Michele Ferrari, who has since been banned by the USADA for possessing, trafficking, administering, and assisting with doping, Armstrong also allegedly possessed a banned steroid in a medicine cabinet at his Spanish villa, according to Anderson.
To make a long story short, Anderson's relationship with Armstrong was basically severed because of this and other subsequent observances, and Armstrong allegedly backed out of his promise to help Anderson establish his bike shop. Armstrong denied that he had ever even promised to help Anderson, according to Anderson, and the court system allegedly caved in the matter because Armstrong was a celebrity athlete.
"Armstrong's aggressive attempts to ruin me, and their effectiveness, left me with a deepening sense of disappointment in the U.S. justice system, where the well-heeled often get away with things that ordinary citizens simply can't," writes Anderson, adding that Armstrong was never a victim, but often a victimizer of others.
Many other witnesses are now coming forward about Armstrong's doping activities
When asked at one point what he thought about the doping allegations that emerged against Belgian cyclist Johan Museeuw back in 2003, Armstrong apparently quipped that "everyone does it," a sentiment that Anderson claims implied Armstrong's own guilt. Several other accounts, including those of former Armstrong teammates Tyler Hamilton and Floyd Landis, mimic this sentiment.
"If you were careful and paid attention, you could dope and be 99 percent certain that you would not get caught," writes Hamilton in his new book The Secret Race, about the doping culture amongst cyclists. Both he and Landis, who have also been banned from cycling by the USADA for doping, say they witnessed Armstrong participate in doping activities right alongside virtually everybody else.
On a different but still relevant note, the Lance Armstrong Foundation was recently exposed for funding a Big Pharma-backed study that promotes an increase in the prescription of opiates and other pain reliever drugs, despite their growing and widespread abuse. The so-called PAINS Initiative study was also backed by the group Rx Action Alliance and drug giant Purdue Pharmaceuticals, the latter of which was fined more than half a billion dollars for misleading the public about the addictive nature of OxyContin (oxycodone).