From 2002 to 2004, Mike Anderson was a bike mechanic and personal assistant to Lance Armstrong. Anderson was so entrenched in Armstrong's life -- everything from working on bikes to assembling toys for his children -- that Armstrong's wife at the time, Kristin, referred to him as "H2," for husband number two.
In 2004, Armstrong had divorced Kristin and asked Anderson to clear her stuff from his apartment in Girona, Spain, before Armstrong arrived with his girlfriend at the time, Sheryl Crow. In Armstrong's bathroom cabinet, Anderson found a box that he says was labeled "Androstenedione," the steroid that first became famous when it was found in Mark McGwire's locker.
Not long after that, Anderson was fired with little explanation. According to Anderson, part of the condition agreed upon when he began working for Armstrong was that Armstrong would help him achieve his dream of opening a bike shop. When he was fired, Anderson attempted to negotiate a settlement with Armstrong over that promise, but Armstrong swiftly sued Anderson in an effort declare the bike shop claim invalid.
Armstrong's representatives portrayed Anderson as unstable and untrustworthy in the media. (In 2010, when SI interviewed Anderson for a story on Armstrong, Armstrong's attorney sent SI a fact sheet titled "Anderson's Complete Lack of Credibility." Other journalists have received the same sheet.)
As Anderson later wrote:
"As the struggle unfolded over weeks and months, many people sneered at my story, assuming that Armstrong -- Tour hero, cancer survivor, philanthropist -- would never fight dirty or lie, so I had to be the dishonest party. I suddenly had a lot of former friends, no job, no money, and a gaping hole in my professional reputation. The rest of the story was fought out in rooms full of lawyers and witnesses, a process that took far too much time out of my life, ruined me financially, and put great strain on me and my family."
Armstrong's admission will be unique in sports because he will be implicitly admitting that he denigrated and sued people he knew were telling the truth.
Shortly before Armstrong confessed that he doped to Oprah Winfrey, SI caught up with Anderson to ask about his experience working for Armstrong, what he expects will come from the Oprah interview, and whether anything Armstrong can say would be meaningful to him.