In a story he wrote for Outside Magazine last August, Anderson detailed a business relationship with Armstrong that began in 2002 with an email from Armstrong promising he would finance Anderson’s bike shop when their work together was done. Anderson, a bike mechanic working in Armstrong’s hometown of Austin, Texas, essentially became the cyclist’s personal assistant, his responsibilities growing as the years passed. One of his tasks was making advance trips to Armstrong’s apartment in Spain to prepare it for his arrival.
Anderson says the relationship began to sour after he came upon a box in Armstrong’s bathroom labeled “Androstenedione,” the banned substance most famously linked to Mark McGwire. The box, Anderson wrote, was mysteriously gone the next time he entered the apartment.
Time passed. Anderson bore witness to more and more things that didn’t feel right. Armstrong, sensing his employee’s discomfort, became more and more distant. Finally, Anderson wrote, Armstrong severed ties, asking Anderson to sign a nondisclosure agreement “that would have made me liable for a large sum of money if I even mentioned ever having worked for Armstrong.”
Anderson’s refusal to do that led to lawyers and lawsuits — with Armstrong accusing Anderson of extortion and Anderson accusing Armstrong of wrongful dismissal, breach of contract, and defamation. The cases were eventually settled for undisclosed terms.
But Anderson took his share of hits along the way.
“Austin was not a comfortable place for me after that,” he said. “It had been my home for some years. I had enjoyed a very good reputation. I couldn’t get a job in the bicycle business, certainly not one that was a fair placement for my skill and experience.”
He ended up in New Zealand, where his wife’s brother has roots, and is doing fine, now.
“I got a fair shake from some local investors who believe in me and we’ve been at it for four years,” Anderson said. “The kids are clothed and fed and I don’t really have any complaints.”
Stories such as these — about the havoc Armstrong unleashed on people’s lives — come from seemingly every corner: bike mechanics, multimillionaire businessmen, trainers, masseuses, wives, cyclists both at the front and back of the peloton.
Tyler Hamilton was among Armstrong’s key teammates during his first three Tour de France victories. His tell-all interview on “60 Minutes” in 2011, combined with his testimony and a book he wrote last year, played a key part in the unraveling of the Armstrong myth.
“It’s been a sad story for a lot of people,” Hamilton said. “But I think we’ll look back on this period and, hopefully not too far down the road, we can say it was, in the end, a good thing for the sport of cycling.”
AP Sports Writer Jerome Pugmire contributed to this report.
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