Lance Armstrong's former masseuse Emma O'Reilly says she's surprised her former boss has admitted to doping but she has no plans to sue him after he tried to discredit her. NBCNews.com's Dara Brown reports.
Lance Armstrong may have come clean about his use of performance-enhancing drugs in his cycling career, but in the eyes of some of the people he hurt over the years, his slate will always be anything but clean.
For Irish masseuse Emma O'Reilly -- who wrote a 2003 book calling Armstrong out on his doping -- an attempt at an apology and Thursday night's Oprah Winfrey interview weren't enough.
O'Reilly, now working as a massage therapist in Manchester, England, told The Manchester Evening News that the cyclist -- who has called her a "whore" in the past -- attempted to contact her last Sunday before his interview aired.
"I thought, you know, one part of me, ‘Oh, this is great.’ And the other part of me, you know, ‘What! The little runt,’" she said. "I could clip him across the back of the head, drag him up to Manchester to apologize to people close to me and eyeball them and apologize to them."
In the 90-minute interview with Winfrey, the cyclist and founder of the Livestrong cancer-fundraising foundation confessed he had taken a performance-enhancing “cocktail.”
“My cocktail, so to speak, was EPO, but not a lot, transfusions and testosterone — which, in a weird way, I almost justified, because of my history, obviously, with having testicular cancer and losing, I thought, ‘surely, I’m running low,’” he told Winfrey, the first time he openly admitted to doping after multiple accusers and years of suspicion that he had been supplementing his seven wins in the Tour de France with performance-enhancing drugs.
That admission wasn't enough for the wife of one of his U.S. Postal Service teammates, another woman who blew the whistle on Armstrong. Betsy Andreu, wife of Frankie Andreu, has publicly said before that she overheard Armstrong talking with a hospital doctor in 1996 about his doping.
“You owed it to me, Lance, and you dropped the ball,” Betsy Andreu, told CNN after Armstrong’s interview with Oprah Winfrey Thursday night. “You had one chance at the truth.”
When Winfrey asked him about Andreu, Armstrong – speaking in as stoic of a manner as he did throughout the entire interview – said he and his former teammate’s wife were not on good terms after the fallout from the 1996 accusations, and then said that when speaking with her earlier this week, he told her, “Listen, I called you crazy. I called you a bitch, I called you all these things, but I never called you fat.”
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The comments nearly brought Andreu to tears in an interview later in the evening with CNN’s Anderson Cooper.
“That exchange right there has me furious,” she told CNN. “This is a guy who used to be my friend who decimated me. He could have come clean. He owed it to me. He owed it to the sport that he destroyed.”
Armstrong also systemically refused to answer questions about other cyclists throughout his interview, saying this was an opportunity for him to talk about his own mistakes – something that further infuriated Andreu, who said Armstrong pressured her husband to dope.
“Frankie rode the 2000 Tour clean, had the vast majority of his career clean. What was his reward? He didn’t get compensated for that Tour win and he lost his job and his career was derailed. That’s going up against Lance Armstong. Going up a decade of being excoriated by him. And I was willing to give him a chance and this is how he responds? It just doesn’t make sense,” she said.
After watching the interview, former masseuse O’Reilly said she was “surprised” that Armstrong finally confessed, but said she didn't plan to sue him.
“I've never ever felt vindication,” she told U.K. television show Daybreak on Friday. "More move on with my life, which is my way of always dealing, keep going with my life. And suing him, how would I employ his tactics?"
She said she saw a lot of doping while she was working as a masseuse for cyclists.
“I hated seeing what some of the riders were going through because not all the riders weren't as comfortable with cheating as Lance was. And you could see when you went over to the dark side the personalities change and I always felt it was an awesome shame,” she said.
From 1999 to 2001, Tyler Hamilton was Lance Armstrong's teammate, helping him capture his first three Tour de France titles. He tells Matt Lauer he believes Armstrong is "definitely sorry" and "did the right thing, finally."
Armstrong's teammate Tyler Hamilton, who has admitted to using performance-enhancing drugs himself, told TODAY he wanted more from Armstrong.
"I think it's a huge, huge first step,'' Hamilton said. "It's really what happens next. The proof is in the pudding. Basically, what's he going to do moving forward? You can tell it's real. He's very emotional. He's definitely sorry. He did the right thing, finally. It's never too late to tell the truth.''
Hamilton said he didn't "need an apology" from Armstrong, but agreed with officials' decisions that all of Armstrong's cycling results that he achieved while on drugs needed to be wiped out.
Doug Ulman, the CEO of Livestrong, told TODAY it was difficult to watch the interview, but he felt some "relief" for the future of his charity in it as well.
"Watching it was hard, and yet I have to watch it through the prism of the work of the foundation and through the resilience that I've come to know from millions of cancer survivors and people who've been touched by our work," he said. "At a certain level there was a little sense of relief, because our organization today can finally move beyond this topic and this issue.''
The reaction from top cycling officials was generally warm.
Hein Verbruggen, the former president of the International Cycling Union (UCI), said it was “good that Lance Armstrong finally admitted to doping," and said he felt vindicated after years of "conspiracy theories" that he helped cover up doping by Armstrong, reported The Associated Press.
Verbruggen, who led the UCI from 1991 to 2005, said in a statement provided to the AP, "I am pleased that after years of accusations being made against me the conspiracy theories have been shown to be nothing more than that."
He added, "I have no doubt that the peddlers of such accusations and conspiracies will be disappointed by this outcome."
Pat McQuaid, who succeeded Verbruggen as UCI president, said he felt Armstrong’s admission would help the future of cycling.
"Lance Armstrong's decision finally to confront his past is an important step forward on the long road to repairing the damage that has been caused to cycling and to restoring confidence in the sport," McQuaid said in a statement.
Watching Armstrong describe his “litany” of offenses, including “leading a team that doped, bullying, consistently lying to everyone and producing a backdating medical prescription to justify a test result” was “disturbing,” he said, but the Irish official also said that Armstrong pointed out cycling is a different sport today than it was a decade ago.
“Finally, we note that Lance Armstrong expressed a wish to participate in a truth a reconciliation process, which we would welcome,” he said.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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