10 Most Incriminating Secret Recordings


Phone Calls Between Lance Armstrong's Friends

Before the controversy: LeMond and Armstrong chatting during the fifth stage of the 1994 Tour de France. ©Pascal Rondeau/ALLSPORT
Before the controversy: LeMond and Armstrong chatting during the fifth stage of the 1994 Tour de France. ┬ęPascal Rondeau/ALLSPORT

Lance Armstrong, member of the U.S. Postal Service-sponsored professional cycling team, won the Tour de France seven consecutive times from 1999 through 2005. His tape scandal stands out in that the recorded conversation didn't include him directly.

In July 2004, Greg LeMond, three-time Tour de France winner and rival of Armstrong, secretly recorded a phone conversation between himself and Stephanie McIlvain, who worked for Armstrong as liaison to sponsor Oakley. LeMond asked her if she would tell the truth about a conversation she overheard in the hospital when Lance was being treated for testicular cancer, and she stated she wouldn't lie and that she heard it. In 2005, as witnesses in a lawsuit brought by Armstrong against SCA Promotions, Betsy and Frankie Andreu testified that in 1996 they overhead Armstrong admit to using steroids and other performance-enhancing drugs to a doctor in the hospital where he was being treated; McIlvain gave a deposition saying that she did not overhear him making the admission. Armstrong insisted that hospital staff never asked him if he doped, and his lawyer stated that the medical records showed no evidence of that conversation.

In 2010, McIlvain and seven others were subpoenaed to testify in a criminal investigation of Armstrong and others regarding drug use in the world of professional cycling to determine whether to bring charges. It is uncertain what testimony McIlvain gave to the grand jury, and the investigation was ultimately dropped.

In October 2012, the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency issued a report stating that there was conclusive proof that Armstrong doped throughout his career and encouraged other teammates to do so, as well, including the testimony of 11 of his teammates and at least one eyewitness. Armstrong continued to deny the charges, but in that same month, the Tour de France stripped him of his titles. Livestrong, the cancer charity he founded after his bout with the disease, reported a dip in revenue after the scandal, and Armstrong broke official ties with Livestrong in November 2012.

During and interview with Oprah Winfrey in January 2013, Armstrong finally admitted to having taken performance-enhancing drugs during his cycling career.

The taped phone call was only one of many pieces in the damning puzzle of evidence that came together against Armstrong.