Betsy Andreu reacted with anger that Lance Armstrong refused to acknowledge the full truth on doping during his recent Herbstrong show to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Austin, Texas reggae festival.
The disgraced former winner of seven Tours de France played drums for four songs but did not used the opportunity to admit that Andreu had told the truth about hearing Armstrong admit to cancer doctors in 1996 that he had used performance-enhancing drugs.
“He’s playing the drums and he has a microphone and and audience waiting to hear him and he never says a freaking word,” said Andreu. “I am so disappointed with him. Why couldn’t he just admit that — at any time between songs he could have said something, but he didn’t.”
A frequent critic of Armstrong, the wife of former US Postal rider Frankie Andreu had hoped Armstrong would tell the whole truth during his highly publicized interview with talk show host Oprah Winfrey. However, while admitting to using doping products, he stopped short of saying Andreu had been right about his hospital confession.
“What is all this Herbstrong stuff anyway?” asked Andreu. It’s like he’s high, so high on himself and he can never come down and admit the truth. He tried to destroy my family and now it’s okay to just smoke a joint and laugh about it? I mean, why doesn’t he just put on one of those silly Jamaican hats with the fake dreadlocks, too?”
Andreu isn’t the only person who is upset about the Herbstrong show. Crusading Irish journalist David Walsh, the author of several damning books on Armstrong, was quick to criticize the Texan’s motives and musical direction.
“It’s always about the drugs, isn’t it? He just goes from testosterone and EPO to marijuana,” said Walsh. The man is pathological. It simply shows a profound lack or morals — after all, pot is illegal and yet he blatantly flaunts the law by championing its usage.”
Armstrong appeared confident behind the drum kit, displaying a musical flow that anchored a surprisingly strong rhythm section. Herbstrong guitarist Peter DiStefano, formerly of Porno for Pyros, had no problem with Armstrong refusing to acknowledge Andreu had told the truth.
“We’re here to rock for the weed, you know? So him working out some personal issue with this woman isn’t really part of the show,” said DiStefano. “Lance was in the groove all night and it was cool. We’re talking about a full studio recording session now because Lance has the talent. I’ve been playing him some old Sly & Robbie stuff and he feels it, you know?”
Doug Ulman, CEO of the Livestrong Foundation, refused to comment on the Herbstrong show. However, a spokesman for the organization said that medical marijuana is in fact legal and an effective treatment for glaucoma and gastrointestinal illness.
While Armstrong’s Herbstrong show garnered plenty of media attention, it’s unlikely to draw any fire from the United States Anti-Doping Agency. “We have stripped Armstrong of his Tour titles and he is finished as a professional athlete,” said agency CEO Travis Tygart. “A musical event in support of legalizing marijuana does not fall under our jurisdiction or interest in protecting the rights of clean athletes everywhere.”
While Armstrong continues his attempts at public redemption and forgiveness, Betsy Andreu is still waiting for closure. “You know who’s a leader? Bob Marley was a leader. Lance is just a liar,” said Andreu.