ESPN’s 30 for 30 “LANCE,” directed by Marina Zenovich
Part 1: 9 p.m. ET Sunday on ESPN
Part 2: 9 p.m. ET May 31 on ESPN
Live streaming: ESPN App, ESPN+
For perhaps the first time, Lance Armstrong, his family and his former teammates talk candidly about his seven Tour de France victories — and the events before and after he was exposed in one of the largest doping scandals in sports history.
Which characters in “LANCE” should you know to fully understand the complicated story? We’ve got you covered:
Perhaps the most infamous of Armstrong’s former teammates, Landis was recruited by Armstrong to the U.S. Postal Service team in 2002, and he helped him win three of his seven Tour de France victories. After Armstrong retired, Landis won the Tour in 2006 while competing for a Swiss cycling team named Phonak, then tested positive for testosterone immediately afterward. He served a two-year suspension and was stripped of his title, but when he attempted to return to the sport, Armstrong and others denied him spots on their teams. Landis said he felt betrayed — as if he had taken the fall for all of them — and in 2010, sent emails to USA Cycling CEO Steve Johnson and other high-ranking cycling and anti-doping officials, with details on the doping incidences he had seen from Armstrong and other prominent cyclists. This was the beginning of Armstrong’s public downfall.
The former soigneur for the USPS team, O’Reilly provided physical therapy, massage therapy and other help for the team. She is widely considered to be the first whistleblower and gave an interview in 2003 to journalist David Walsh, saying that Armstrong asked her to dispose of used syringes and hide needle marks with makeup. Armstrong fought back, suing her for libel and calling her vicious names. Armstrong calls his treatment of her “the worst thing he’s ever done” in his life. O’Reilly, for her part, said she has since forgiven Armstrong and considers him a friend again.
Hamilton helped Armstrong win three Tours, then parted ways with the USPS team in 2001 because he wanted a shot to compete on his own. Hamilton describes himself as friends with Armstrong when they were teammates, then no longer friendly once Hamilton left the team. Hamilton said that after he beat Armstrong in a time trial in 2004, Armstrong called the UCI and directed the organization to investigate Hamilton for doping. Hamilton later tested positive for banned substances after winning the 2004 Olympic individual time trial and the Vuelta a Espana, and after serving a two-year suspension, failed another drug test in 2009. He was later stripped of his Olympic gold medal, and he testified on multiple occasions that he had seen Armstrong doping.
Frankie and Betsy Andreu
Frankie Andreu was team captain of the USPS team from 1998 until 2000. Frankie and his wife, Betsy, testified in 2005 that while Armstrong was receiving cancer treatment in 1996, he told doctors in their presence that he had taken erythropoietin (EPO), testosterone, human growth hormone, steroids and cortisone. They later gave damning affidavits to the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) in 2012 that reiterated that account and included additional detailed incidences of Armstrong doping.
Hincapie competed on the USPS team from 1997 to 2007 and, like Frankie Andreu, admitted to doping and testified against Armstrong in the 2012 USADA decision. Hincapie had tied the record of completed Tours, at 16, before he was retroactively disqualified from the 2004-2006 Tours after the admission. He and Armstrong consider themselves friends today, however.
An Italian cycling coach and doctor, Ferrari was well-known in cycling circles for his doping practices. Armstrong had worked with him periodically for six years when, in 2004, Ferrari was sentenced to a 12-month suspended jail sentence for malpractice. He was later acquitted of the charges, but in 2012 he received a lifetime ban from USADA for doping violations.
A former three-time Tour winner in 1986, 1989 and 1990, LeMond was an inspiration to Armstrong as he switched from competing in triathlons to cycling. After Armstrong’s third Tour victory in 2001, LeMond publicly expressed disappointment that Armstrong was working with Dr. Ferrari and famously said, “If Lance is clean, it is the greatest comeback in the history of sport. If he isn’t, it would be the greatest fraud.” LeMond alleges Armstrong then used his influence with their mutual sponsor, Trek, to ruin LeMond’s business. Since Armstrong and Landis have been stripped of their Tour de France titles, LeMond is currently the only American winner of the event.
Once a superstar in his home country of Germany, Ullrich won the 1997 Tour, and then he was the perennial second-place finisher to Armstrong in the early 2000s. At the 2006 Tour after Armstrong retired, Ullrich was considered one of the favorites, until he was implicated in an investigation into blood doping. He was barred from the Tour that year and never raced professionally again. After incidents involving drunk driving, a break-in and assault, in 2018 he was admitted to a psychiatric hospital. Armstrong went to visit him, saying, “I love Jan Ullrich. He was such a special rival to me. He scared me, he motivated me, and truly brought out the best in me.”
Armstrong was raised by his mother, Linda Armstrong Kelly, who gave birth to him in 1971 when she was 17. His biological father, Eddie Gunderson, was briefly married to Linda, but it was an abusive relationship and ended when Lance was 2. A year later, Linda married Terry Armstrong, and he formally adopted Lance. The couple later divorced when Lance was 15.
Lance Armstrong married Kristin Richard in 1998, and the couple had three children: Luke, Isabelle and Grace. They divorced in 2003. Armstrong met fiance Anna Hansen in 2008, and the couple have since had two children, Max and Olivia.