LIVE: Off The Ball

07:00 PM-10:00 PM

LIVE: Off The Ball
Other Sports

'You had to tread lightly' | A teammate's relationship with Lance Armstrong

Part one of the new Lance Armstrong documentary 'LANCE' has dropped on ESPN, and we got the thoug...

'You had to tread lightly' | A...
Other Sports

'You had to tread lightly' | A teammate's relationship with Lance Armstrong

Part one of the new Lance Armstrong documentary 'LANCE' has dropped on ESPN, and we got the thoughts of his former teammate Tyler Hamilton on OTB AM.

The documentary interviews Armstrong and those closest to him, following him from his Texan childhood to a career that saw him win seven Tour de France titles before his doping downfall.

Hamilton was a teammate of Armstrong's during the 1999, 2000, and 2001 Tours de France, when doping was rampant within the sport.

Hamilton himself was banned for eight years from cycling in 2009 for a doping offence, effectively retiring him from competitive riding.

He told Ger and Eoin about the ego of Lance Armstrong that is prevalent in the new documentary.

"A lot of us thought he had the President of the UCI [Hein Verbruggen] in his back pocket. Sometimes we'd finish a race and you'd be on the team bus and he'd pick up the phone and call Hein Verbruggen in fromt of the whole team.

"He'd speak to him about something that might have happened in the race, 'This needs to be done and that needs to be done', I found that pretty interesting.

"I might have talked about it with my wife at the time behind closed doors but I'd be scared to talk about it in front of another teammate in case of Lance finding out and getting pissed.

"You had to kind of tread lightly around Lance when you were teammates with him, you know? Because when you were on his good side things were pretty good, but when you were on his bad side it could get ugly quickly. I certainly feared that, yeah."

Asked how a teammate got over a bad relationship with Armstrong, Hamilton says there was usually only one solution.

US Postal-Berry Floor's Lance Armstrong from the US is followed by compatriot Tyler Hamilton of Team CSC (R) during the 8th stage of the 2003 Tour de France cycling race, Sunday 13 July 2003 near L'Alpe d'Huez. Euskaltel-Euskadi's Iban Mayo from Spain won |

"Change teams. Once you're in it was hard to get out of it. I almost remember the exact moment in the 2001 season when it went bad. I was just on a training route and I stood up for myself.

"Ever since that moment our relationship changed a little bit. He never really looked at me the same... I just gave it back to him, it was probably all for the good for sure. Because that led to me eventually changing teams.

"In the 2001 season he [Lance] moved from Nice in France to Girona in Spain. I had been riding there for years, he was always questioning about the roads. I think I just snapped back at him one time... he probably doesn't even remember it.

"I don't know if he's changed. I think it's impossible not to have changed at all after everything he's been through. I think he still likes the limelight for sure, I think he thinks he belongs there.

"Each to their own, I prefer more of a quiet life."

Download the brand new OffTheBall App in the Play Store & App Store right now! We've got you covered!

Subscribe to OffTheBall's YouTube channel for more videos, like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter for the latest sporting news and content.

Read more about

Cycling Eoin Sheahan Ger Gilroy Lance Armstrong Off The Ball Tour De France Tyler Hamilton