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Mike Anderson says he felt a dull sadness as he stared at the little white cardboard box in Armstrong's bathroom cabinet. His eyes focused on the word ANDRO written on the label. Anderson tried to rationalize it. Maybe it was leftover cancer medication, but this was 2004, long after Armstrong's disease had been defeated, and there was no prescription attached.
Anderson knew there were drugs in cycling, but as Armstrong's bike mechanic and personal assistant from 2002 to '04, he had seen no hard evidence against his boss. There was, of course, the conversation that year on a training ride near Austin in which they discussed Belgian cyclist Johan Museeuw, who had been accused of doping. "Everyone does it," Armstrong said matter-of-factly, according to Anderson. And later in '04 there would be the day Armstrong seemed to evaporate from his ranch—the first time in two years he'd left without alerting Anderson—when USADA drug testers showed up at the gate. Still, that seemed circumstantial to Anderson. So that day in Armstrong's apartment in Girona, Spain, where Anderson had been sent to remove all traces of Armstrong's ex-wife, Kristin, before Armstrong arrived with his girlfriend, Sheryl Crow, Anderson didn't look inside the box. Still, the box was, well, tangible.
Anderson never mentioned the box to Armstrong, but in papers filed in the spring of 2005, when Anderson sued Armstrong for allegedly reneging on a business deal to help him build a bike shop, Anderson's lawyers would write the name of the substance as "Androstenin, or something very close to this." Anderson's account in legal documents piqued the interest of the FDA. Six months ago, Novitzky interviewed Anderson about his time working for Armstrong. Novitzky pronounced the word as An-droh-steen-die-own (Androstenedione), the steroid that became infamous when it was found in Mark McGwire's locker. Androstenedione has been on the IOC list of banned substances since 1997. Through his lawyers, Armstrong denies ever having taken andro.
Federal investigators have access to the documents filed in the Anderson-Armstrong lawsuit. According to those papers, shortly after Armstrong won his sixth Tour de France, in 2004, Anderson, who was back home in Austin, says he got a call from Armstrong's friend Derek Russey, alerting him that USADA drug testers had shown up at the Armstrong ranch in Dripping Springs, Texas, and Lance wasn't there. Athletes subject to USADA testing are required to notify the agency of their whereabouts, and missing three random tests over 18 months can count as a violation. Anderson says he became involved in a plan to fool the testers. His job was to keep an eye on the USADA officials—a man and a woman in a white SUV—while Armstrong's friend John Korioth retrieved the cyclist's black Suburban from the private terminal at the Austin airport and drove it to the ranch. The idea was for Korioth, posing as Armstrong behind the tinted windows of the car, to drive past the testers on the road and give the impression that Armstrong had been around all along and they simply could not get hold of him.
In an affidavit in the case, Russey denied calling Anderson. When contacted by SI, Korioth denied that the incident had occurred, saying, "It was proven through USADA that that didn't happen. Mike Anderson fabricated that out of thin air." In response to Korioth's assertion, Travis Tygart, USADA's CEO, says, "USADA has never concluded that Mike Anderson fabricated the story."
Through his lawyer, Armstrong says he never participated in an attempt to avoid USADA testers at his ranch. In an affidavit filed in the SCA case, Tygart said that USADA had tested Armstrong 12 times from 2001 to 2005 and that he had "never had an adverse analytical finding reported to USADA."
Anderson's lawsuit against Armstrong was settled for an undisclosed amount, but his prospects in the bike industry around Austin were no longer bright. Today Anderson runs The Bike Hutt in Wellington, New Zealand. He still remembers opening the cabinet as the day "I found proof that there is no Santa Claus." (Armstrong's legal counsel has described Anderson as "discredited.")
During the years Armstrong rode for USPS, he flew on private charters such as NetJets. One feature of flying into private airports is less stringent customs checks. "We went from place to place with no problems, using private airports," says Landis. Customs agents, he says, rarely asked questions. "You'd walk into a small building and were asked for your passport, if that," says Landis. "I remember one time Lance said, 'I don't have time for this' and kept walking."
Customs agents at the airport in St. Moritz, Switzerland, stopped Armstrong in 2003, according to Landis. Armstrong, Landis and other members of the USPS team walked off the plane, headed for customs and were asked to open their duffel bags for a search. "Lance had a bag of drugs and s---," says Landis. "They wanted to search it, which was out of the ordinary."
The agents looked through the bag and found syringes and drugs with labels written in Spanish. As Landis recounts, Armstrong then asked a member of the contingent to talk to the agents and persuade them that the drugs were vitamins and that the syringes were for vitamin injections. Says Landis, "The agents looked at us sideways but let us through."