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TORONTO — Betsy Andreu — who was maligned for years by Lance Armstrong after she and her husband suggested he was doping — had a simple message for documentary filmmaker Alex Gibney at Sunday’s premiere of The Armstrong Lie: “Thank you for not buying the bullshit.”
Andreu, who is married to cyclist and former Armstrong teammate Frankie Andreu, received a rousing applause when appearing on stage with Gibney and cyclist Jonathan Vaughters, who himself once admitted to doping before spearheading a movement to clean up the sport.
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Frank Marshall and Matthew Tolmach produced The Armstrong Lie, which Sony Pictures Classics opens in the U.S. on Nov. 8.
Originally, Gibney set out to make a film about Armstrong’s 2009 comeback.
Both Andreu and Vaughters told Gibney they were initially worried that he would do a “puff” piece and fall prey to Armstrong’s denial system.
Instead, the well-respected director shelved the documentary as concerns mounted. Gibney found his ending last fall when Armstrong was finally stripped of his seven Tour de France titles and banned from cycling for life because of doping. In January, Armstrong appeared on Oprah and confessed that he did in fact dope after years of saying he didn’t.
But Gibney’s film suggests Armstrong may still have a hard time being truthful.
In May, Armstrong agreed to sit with Gibney for an interview, in which he denies that he was doping during the 2009 Tour de France (he had a tough time, placing No. 3). However, a blood sample taken during one of the races showed that he may have relied on a blood transfusion, a banned practice.
“He was adamant that he didn’t dope,” says Gibney in the film, “or is it just another lie?”
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Andreu went further during the Q&A following the screening. “I personally don’t believe there is one chance that Lance was clean in 2009 and 2010. Everybody deserves second chances and everybody can redeem themselves, but sorry is just a word.”
Gibney said his film is the “anatomy” of a lie, adding that there many people supporting that lie, including anti-doping authorities and sponsors. “It’s one thing to say he was lying; it’s another to show how he was lying.”
Gibney, Andreu and Vaughters will be among those appearing at a Monday press conference in Toronto to talk about the documentary.
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