independent

Thursday 17 April 2014

Irish masseur Emma O'Reilly may sue over Armstrong's 'alcoholic whore' jibe

Emma O'Reilly

IRISH masseur Emma O'Reilly who was called an "alcoholic whore" by Lance Armstrong, is considering taking legal action against him.

O'Reilly, who worked with the US Postal team, suffered the verbal abuse from Armstrong and then the nightmare of 20-year lawsuit after she made the revelations about the disgraced cyclist in a 2004 book.

But she said yesterday she was also weighing up whether to show him the compassion he never offered her.

Her dilemma seems to demonstrate that of cycling generally. There is at the same time the desire to punish the man but also a hope that an olive branch now will encourage him to tell the complete truth, providing the sport with information it badly needs.

Contrition

"Sometimes in life you should stand up and be counted and in this day and age women should not be spoken to, and spoken about in the way he did," Ms O'Reilly said yesterday when asked about legal action she might take.

"But I also feel that one of the options I should examine is just leave this and get on with my life. My gut is telling me a bit of both.''

She added: ''I think a bit of compassion should be shown. Maybe give him a chance, let him show true contrition."

O'Reilly, talking on BBC Radio Five, said hearing Armstrong admit that he had doped on the 1999 Tour, exactly as she had claimed in the book 'LA Confidential' had a profound physical as well as emotional affect on her.

"It was if all the tightness in my chest had a physical release, I felt like for the first time in years I could breathe," she said.

In a surprise move in Belgium, Johan Bruyneel – Armstrong's close friend and team manager throughout his seven 'wins' on the Tour de France – has confirmed he is ready to co-operate with investigators from the Royal Belgian Cycling Federation, who are conducting an investigation into doping allegations.

Mr Bruyneel, who lives in London, is one of the few individuals mentioned in the US Anti-Doping Agency report who still vigorously proclaims his innocence.

He is also writing a book giving his version of events.

Meanwhile another fallen athlete, Canada's Ben Johnson, says Armstrong will survive his disgrace and flourish again. "The American people will forgive him" said the man who was stripped of the 1988 Olympic 100m title.

In Australia Andy Schleck, who beat Armstrong in the 2009 and 2010 Tour de France, has said that he believed the American was riding clean on his comeback from retirement. (©Daily Telegraph London)

Irish Independent

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