(Wall Street Journal) The Women Behind Team Armstrong
The teetering stack of affidavits, emails, text messages, photos and home videos released this week by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency to support its case against Lance Armstrong seems to make one thing unambiguously clear: Some of the most important figures on Armstrong's cycling teams were the riders' wives and girlfriends.
The 1,000 pages of documents made public Wednesday to support USADA's decision to ban Armstrong from competition for life and strip his titles included allegations that several wives or girlfriends knew of the team's illicit activities. The evidence suggests that while some were upset and worked to undermine or expose the scheme, at least one of them—Armstrong's ex-wife, Kristin—allegedly participated.
According to USADA's evidence, tensions sometimes flared over the issue of doping among Armstrong's teammates, and when it did, the women closest to the riders were often pushed into the middle. Cycling is a rare team sport where few barriers exist between cyclists and their families. Wives and girlfriends often lived with riders during the season in Europe and traveled with them during stage races like the Tour de France. Wives of riders on Armstrong's U.S. Postal Service cycling team became friends and emailed each other often.