A Sony Pictures Classics Release

The Armstrong Lie

Written &
Directed by
Alex Gibney


A Sony Pictures Classics Release

The Armstrong Lie

Written &
Directed by
Alex Gibney

"This is not a story about doping.
It's a story about power."

– Daniel Coyle, Author, Lance Armstrong's War and The Secret Race: Inside the Hidden World of the Tour de France



In 2008, Academy Award® winning filmmaker Alex Gibney set out to make a documentary about Lance Armstrong's comeback to the world of competitive cycling. Widely regarded as one of the most prominent figures in the history of sports, Armstrong had brought global attention to cycling as the man who had triumphed over cancer and went on to win bicycling's greatest race, the Tour de France, a record seven consecutive times.

Charting Armstrong's life-story (and given unprecedented access to both the Tour and the man), Gibney began filming what he initially envisioned as the ultimate comeback story — Armstrong's return from his 2005 retirement and his attempt to win his eighth Tour. Indeed, more than just an athlete, Armstrong, through his inspiring personal narrative and charitable works, had come to embody nothing short of the possibilities of the human spirit itself. An unprecedented scandal, however, would rewrite both the Armstrong legend and Gibney's film.

By early 2013, Lance Armstrong had admitted to using performance enhancing drugs following a federal criminal investigation and an investigation by the US Anti-Doping Agency (in 2012 the USADA, in conjunction with the International Cycling Union, effectively stripped Armstrong of all seven of his previous titles and banned him from all sport for life). Setting out to chronicle a comeback, Alex Gibney's The ARMSTRONG Lie instead emerges as a riveting insider's view, chronicling the collapse of one of the greatest legends of our time. As Lance Armstrong tells Gibney's camera: "I didn't live a lot of lies, but I lived one big one."

Academy Award® winning filmmaker, Alex Gibney (We Steal Secrets: The Story of WikiLeaks; Taxi to the Dark Side; Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room) directs The ARMSTRONG Lie, a documentary chronicling sports legend Lance Armstrong's improbable rise and ultimate fall from grace.

The film is produced by: Alex Gibney for Jigsaw Productions; five-time Oscar® nominee, Frank Marshall (The Curious Case of Benjamin Button; Seabiscuit; The Sixth Sense; The Color Purple; Raiders of the Lost Ark) for The Kennedy/Marshall company and Matt Tolmach (The Amazing Spider-Man; The Amazing Spider-Man 2) for Matt Tolmach Productions.

The production crew features several frequent Alex Gibney collaborators including: the French-born cinematographer, Maryse Alberti, who previously worked with Gibney on Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room and Taxi to the Dark Side (amongst others) and whose feature film credits include The Wrester (for Darren Aronofsky; 2008) and Todd Haynes' Velvet Goldmine (1998); veteran cameraman and director Richard Pearce (Food, Inc.), who provided additional cinematography; Ben Bloodwell, assistant camera/second camera, who previous work with Gibney includes We Steal Secrets: The Story of WikiLeaks and trusted soundman David Hocs (Client 9: The Rise and Fall of Eliot Spitzer). On Gibney's editing team is Andy Grieve (We Steal Secrets: The Story of WikiLeaks), with additional editing work by Lindy Jankura (Gonzo: The Life and Work of Dr. Hunter S. Thompson) and two-time Oscar® nominee, Tim Squyres (Life of Pi; Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon).


Director's Statement

The Anatomy of a Lie

I am often asked what's "new" about doping in "The Armstrong Lie."

The simple answer is: "very little."

But that simple answer is actually part of a more complicated and mysterious riddle (that extends way beyond the topical fashion of the news.)

The more interesting question posed by the film – and my own journey through the story – is a mystery: why was the "Armstrong lie" able to hide in plain sight for so many years?

The most astounding aspect of the Lance Armstrong story is that his doping was never a tightly held secret. Hundreds of people knew that Armstrong was doping during his seven Tour wins (indeed, most leading cyclists were doping). Further, many journalists, armed with persuasive evidence, published extensive accounts of Armstrong's doping long before his confession on Oprah. While it is true that Lance (and the sworn statements of his former teammates) revealed new levels of detail in 2012 and 2013 – some of which is included, for the first time, in "The Armstrong Lie" – the essential truth about Lance's doping has been well known for years.

Yet, despite all that, millions of people around the world refused to believe that Lance had ever doped. Further, many of those who suspected Lance had doped, or even those who had witnessed him injecting himself with EPO, willingly participated in the charade that he rode clean.

What made me want to make this film was to understand how so many – including myself – could be part of such a public cover-up. And I wanted to understand how Armstrong could so effectively promote and protect such an elaborate lie. As the writer Dan Coyle says in the film, "this is not a story about doping; it is a story about power."

The power was threefold. First, the power of Lance's essential story – a cancer survivor comes back to win the world's most grueling sporting event seven times – seduced millions into believing something that was too good to be true. Second, Lance's power as a celebrity, his growing wealth and his ability to use his myth to lift the fortunes of cycling, all allowed him to silence his critics and to punish them for trying to tell the truth. Third, race organizers, journalists and sponsors all saw the economic advantage in selling the lie rather than telling the truth.

It's all well and good to say these things on paper, with the benefit of hindsight. But how do you show what happened?

This is where I had a unique cinematic opportunity: I was an accidental tourist on the Lance Armstrong promo bus. Throughout 2009, I followed Lance Armstrong on his celebrated comeback to professional cycling. In the wake of doping revelations, I realized that my journey – from admiring fan to angry dupe – was the journey that so many others had traveled. But I had a front row seat.

When the lie collapsed, I realized that all the footage that I had shot meant something rather different than what I thought it meant at the time I was shooting. It was that David Hemmings' moment from "Blow Up": my camera had captured something I hadn't glimpsed with my naked eye.

What's "new" about "The Armstrong Lie" is the ability to see how the lie worked. These are not new doping "facts"; these are telltale signs that only the camera can reveal. Look at Lance's face, the way he seduces some and attacks others. Look at the way he marshals the crowd at a press conference to vilify a journalist. Look at the way he humiliates another cyclist – to the delight of the rest of the peloton and sycophantic journalists – for trying to tell the truth about his doping doctor.

Look at the brilliant Kabuki of the interviews that Lance orchestrates with his old teammate Frankie Andreu. Watch his face as he acts out the role of celebrity cyclist even as he conveys a number of hidden messages to his old friend: "you and I both know I doped but you can't say it, can you?"; "I can control your destiny in this sport"; "I forgive you for betraying me and accept you back." Then, not long after, in the wake of a terrible defeat, Lance drops his act and speaks honestly to Frankie in a way that none of the crowd around him can understand.

Then, in the interview I did with Lance after Oprah, can you tell if Lance is telling the truth? I believe that he is, even though what he says may not be what we want to hear. Yet, after seeing and hearing so many of his lies, can we really tell the difference between what is canned and what is candid?

The French filmmaker Jean-Luc Godard was said that film is "truth at 24 frames per second." "The Armstrong Lie" is "untruth at 24 frames per second."

Showing the face of the lie – and a reckoning with my own role in it – turned out to be the way to discover an enduring truth: too often, we only see what we want to believe.


About the Production

"I didn't live a lot of lies. But I lived one big one. You know, it's different I guess. Maybe it's not. But yeah, it's...And what I said in there with just how this story is all over the place and there are these two...you know, these just complete opposite narratives. You know...The only person that can actually start to let people understand what the true narrative is, is me. And you should know that better than anybody else to the get into the...the real nature and the real detail of the story. Because we haven't heard it yet is the truth."
— Lance Armstrong; January 14, 2013

In The ARMSTRONG Lie, acclaimed documentary filmmaker Alex Gibney turns his camera on one of the most riveting stories in the history of sports, the impossible rise and spectacular fall from grace of former cycling champion and inspirational hero, Lance Armstrong.

Born and raised in Texas, Lance Armstrong entered the world of professional cycling at the age of 21 in 1992. For the next four years he displayed prominence in several key races including a 1st place finish in the 1993 UCI Road World Championship in Norway. Diagnosed with life-threatening metastasized cancers in October 1996, he underwent testicular and brain surgeries, and extensive chemotherapy treatments. By early 1997, however, Armstrong had emerged victorious in his battle with cancer (establishing the Lance Armstrong Foundation later that year). Remarkably, by 1998, Armstrong against all odds had returned to professional racing.

Lance Armstrong went on to become one of the most remarkable figures in sports history, winning his first Tour de France (cycling's greatest race and one of the world's most grueling athletic competitions) the following year, in 1999. From there his legend took flight.

Armstrong published his bestselling memoir: "It's Not About the Bike: My Journey Back to Life," in 2000. Between 1999 and 2005 he would go on to win the Tour de France a record seven times in a row. Though dogged (as were other cyclists) by persistent rumors of using illicit performance enhancing drugs, Armstrong, during this phase of his career, was consistently certified as drug-free by cycling's governing bodies and continued to race — and win.

With his remarkable tale of personal triumph and racing victories, Armstrong brought a never before seen prominence to the sport itself and raised vast sums for charity (with millions alone though the sale of yellow 'Livestrong' bracelets). Basking in the glow of international celebrity, he also remained an inspiration to cancer patients and survivors, symbolizing the potential of the human spirit. Through sponsorships, product licensing and endorsements, he had also amassed a vast personal fortune.

In the spring of 2005, Armstrong, approaching his 34th birthday, announced his retirement from professional cycling. It would follow his seventh back-to-back Tour de France victory later that summer (completing the event, notably, at the fastest pace in the race's history), citing his desire to spend more time with his children. "My children are my biggest supporters," said Armstrong at the time. "But at the same time, they are the ones who told me it's time to come home."

By September 2008, however, Lance Armstrong announced that he would return to cycling - with no less a goal than competing in the 2009 Tour de France. With the promise of unfettered access and a remarkable story in the making, acclaimed filmmaker, Alex Gibney, signed up to go along for the ride.

A veteran documentarian, Gibney is the filmmaker behind the 2008 Oscar®-winning documentary Taxi to the Dark Side and the 2006 Oscar®-nominated Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room. Heralded by Esquire magazine — "[Gibney]...is becoming the most important documentarian of our time" — his remarkable list of credits includes: We Steal Secrets: The Story of WikiLeaks; Client 9: The Rise and Fall of Eliot Spitzer; Gonzo: The Life and Work of Dr. Hunter S. Thompson and the Jack Abramoff documentary, Casino Jack and the United States of Money.

Given unprecedented access to Armstrong and the world of professional cycling, Gibney turned his cameras on the sports legend, his teammates and trainers (including the controversial Italian physician and coach, Michele Ferrari) in 2008-2009, embarking on what he believed would prove the ultimate comeback story under the working title: "The Road Back." Joined by his production team, he followed Armstrong's progress for a little over a year (joining Armstrong for the 2009 Tour de France and again for the 2010 Tour) and all but completed his edit in 2011. But what Gibney, along with most observers, couldn't anticipate were the events which would unfold — a US Federal criminal inquiry (subsequently dropped without charges), and more crucially, an investigation by the regulatory body, the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA), which would ultimately end Armstrong's career.

Gibney's project was suspended as the story of the doping scandal supplanted that of Armstrong's comeback in the public eye. It was re-opened as Armstrong stepped forward to make his public confession in 2013. Envisioned as the ultimate comeback story, The ARMSTRONG Lie instead presents a riveting, inside view of the unraveling of one of the most extraordinary legends in the history of sports.

"Ultimately, it's a cautionary tale," says the legendary producer and five-time Academy Award®-nominee, Frank Marshall (The Curious Case of Benjamin Button; Seabiscuit; The Sixth Sense; The Color Purple; Raiders of the Lost Ark), who had remained determined for years to make a film about Armstrong.

"It's also a riveting story," says Marshall's producing partner and former President of Columbia Pictures, Matt Tolmach (The Amazing Spider-Man; The Amazing Spider-Man 2). "It's a deep dive into the psyche of Lance Armstrong, what this man did, what this story was that he told and why – and why we all believed it."

"It was just such a good story. Who wouldn't want to believe in that story," says Alex Gibney of the Armstrong legend and his new film. "But it just didn't happen to be true."

Gibney discusses his new film in detail, its circuitous route to the screen, and his relationship with Lance Armstrong in the following director's statement – prepared as he readied The ARMSTRONG Lie for its international premiere at the Venice Film Festival from his edit suite in New York.


Production Notes

The origins of the documentary, The ARMSTRONG Lie, stretch back for well over a decade. They begin with the legendary Hollywood producer, Frank Marshall.

One of the most respected filmmakers working in the industry today, Marshall is best known as the five-time Oscar® nominee behind such films as The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, Seabiscuit, The Sixth Sense, The Color Purple and Raiders of the Lost Ark, and such recent hits as the Bourne film series. Perhaps less well known is Marshall's interest and involvement in the world of sports.

In addition to his work as a filmmaker, Marshall (who ran cross-country and track as a student at UCLA and was a three-year varsity letterman in soccer) served for over a decade as a vice president and member of the United States Olympic Committee. He was awarded the Olympic Shield in 2005 and, in 2008, was inducted into the U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame for his service to the Olympic movement.

In the early 2000's Marshall was approached by fellow US Olympic Committee member, Bill Stapleton — lawyer and agent to Lance Armstrong — with an eye towards making a feature film based on Armstrong's memoir, It's Not About the Bike: My Journey Back to Life. "Back then I was kind of the go-to Hollywood guy if you had a story," says Marshall. "So they came to me and said, 'What do you think we should do with this?' That's how it all started."

Marshall brought the book to Matt Tolmach, who at that time was co-head of production at Columbia Pictures. He was also, as Marshall knew, an avid cyclist.

"Frank and I knew each other and he knew that I was a serious cyclist myself, kind of a weekend warrior," says Tolmach, who was also well aware of Armstrong's remarkable story. "We were interested and we wanted to develop the movie," says Tolmach, who soon found himself in a meeting with Armstrong's rep, Bill Stapleton. "I went to Frank's office in Santa Monica. I sat down, and there was Bill who looks at me and says, 'So I hear you're a cyclist...Pull up your pant leg.' Of course, I did. And like all dedicated roadies, my legs are shaved. He saw that, smiled, and said 'Alright, let's talk.'

Together, Marshall and Tolmach set about developing a feature film about Armstrong with Matt Damon set for the leading role. Though "one or two scripts," according to Marshall, were developed, the idea of making an Armstrong biopic was ultimately shelved. "Movies about people who are still alive and in the news are complicated," explains Tolmach. "Because Lance was such a household name it's hard to ask an audience to suspend what they know and what they see almost daily and accept someone else playing the part...Because he was still very much in the public eye, it seemed like an awkward proposition." Says Marshall: "We just never got to a place where we were ready to make the movie."

By August, 2008, however, the project would take a new track. The 37-year-old Armstrong, who at this point had been in retirement for three years, had decided to test his mettle that summer in Colorado in a race called The Leadville 100. After training and placing second (finishing just two minutes behind race winner, Dave Wiens), Armstrong now contemplated the ultimate comeback. Having won the Tour de France a record seven times in a row (1999-2005), he would try to win it again in 2009.

It was at this time that Matt Tolmach realized that the movie he would make with Frank Marshall would be a nonfiction film — the real story of a Lance Armstrong comeback. "It was a different story unfolding and it was a documentary," explains Tolmach. "Because it was a story that was happening in real life and real time, the best way to capture it was to go out and film it...I thought if we were to film a year in the life of this man, culminating in the Tour de France, that would be really interesting for people to see. What does that comeback look like? And what does it mean?"

Speaking with Armstrong after the Leadville race, Marshall and Tolmach agreed it was the perfect time to make a documentary about the cyclist. "Our one condition was that he let us follow him and cover the whole year with full access," says Marshall. "He agreed to that. And that's how we got this unprecedented access to his life, his team and the Tour de France," says the producer of what would emerge as the film's remarkable inside view of Armstrong's world (including such controversial figures as Italian physician and Armstrong cycling coach, Michele Ferrari).

Around the same time, Frank Marshall was involved with a passion project of his own, making a documentary for ESPN's 30 for 30 series (celebrating the US sports network's 30th anniversary with thirty sports docs). Marshall's film, Right to Play, told the story of Norwegian speed-skater Johann Olav Koss's philanthropic works. Documentary filmmaker, Alex Gibney, meanwhile, was working on Catching Hell, the story of Chicago Cubs' baseball fans who had blamed their team's misfortunes on a fellow fan who'd interfered with a crucial play.

"We got to know each other on the 30 for 30 track for ESPN," says Marshall of his relationship with Gibney. "If you look at Alex's Spitzer documentary (Client 9: The Rise and Fall of Eliot Spitzer) or indeed many of his films, he likes to examine why people tick. And so I thought, 'Wouldn't it be interesting examine why this guy wants to make a comeback?' I knew we already had an exciting subject. And so Matt and I talked about it. We decided to go with the best, and that's Alex."

"We were also in the Lance tent a little bit and we both knew enough to know that great documentaries need a more objective approach," says Tolmach. "Alex was the master of great journalistic truth telling. And there was a lot about this guy [Armstrong], that was a mystery, but not the mystery that everybody is trying to unravel now. We just wanted to know what drove this guy. And we knew a great documentary would win or lose based on whether or not you could get inside the character."

For his part, director Alex Gibney knew little of Lance Armstrong or the world of competitive cycling. "When I first met Armstrong I told him, 'I know you ride a bike and you're good at what you do, but beyond that I don't know much about your sport.' Gibney did, however, know a thing or two about making documentaries – with an Oscar® nomination in 2006 for his film, Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room and an Oscar® win in 2008 for the hard-hitting, Taxi to the Dark Side.

"I had to learn in a hurry," says the director of his research. "I started reading madly, watching cycling...I also bought a bike and started going out on the road just to get a sense of what it was like." So too, did Gibney begin interviewing veteran journalists who had covered both the sport and Armstrong. "I got into some of the rumors, the accusations...And also just what made the sport so interesting and how you get good at it."

Even then Gibney was aware of the misgivings which had dogged both Armstrong's career and the world of competitive cycling itself. "I'd certainly heard about the allegations and discussed them with Matt Tolmach and Frank Marshall," says the director. "The suspicions were always there, but again, you had to be careful because you could never really prove them."

Instead, Gibney would focus on Armstrong's comeback in the initial iteration of his film under the working title "The Road Back." Joined by his production team, he began filming in late September 2008, following Armstrong through his intensive training and his attempt to win the Tour de France in July 2009 and again in July, 2010.

Together with his crew — including trusted cinematographer Maryse Alberti and soundman, David Hocs — Gibney was given unprecedented access, filming Armstrong in training rides in Austin, Texas, Sonoma, California and Aspen, Colorado; and then in competition in New Mexico, California, Australia, Italy and Spain in the build up to the 2009 Tour.

"We basically had a schedule where we covered his races and training, and then Alex would also interview him at home in Texas and cover his training regimen there," says Marshall. "We then went to the (2009) Tour and shot the entire three weeks of that race. We shot the next year at the Tour as well, when he continued to try and win again...That's where Armstrong placed 23rd and kind of decided he was done."

Typically, Gibney would run three to four cameras simultaneously. "It was critical," says the director of his desire to make the racing footage as exciting as possible. "You don't want it to seem like wallpaper."

Amongst Gibney's innovations were the use of small digital cameras, early prototypes of the now ubiquitous GoPros — one positioned underneath an Armstrong teammates' saddle pointing backwards, the other atop a set of handlebars pointing forward — to create a more immersive experience for the viewer. He also made use of state of the art Phantom digital cameras to film in super slow motion. "It made you feel like you're in the sport," says Gibney. "And the sport is terribly exciting...I really wanted the cycling part to feel like an action movie. You want to feel that speed."

"In the end we were running ten cameras at the Tour," Gibney continues. "The way you do it in the Tour is you jump ahead to a point where you wait for the pack to come by and then you grab a few shots. Then you quickly jump back in the cars, get ahead of it again, station yourself, set up your cameras, and do it again. You want to be in the right place at the right time in addition to coordinating all your other cameras...This was a huge undertaking."

By late 2010 Gibney, between his own and archival footage, had gathered over 200 hours of material — "a Titanic amount of footage". Working with his initial editing team of Tim Squyres (Life of Pi; Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon) and Lindy Jankura (Gonzo: The Life and Work of Dr. Hunter S. Thompson), he had all but completed the film in 2011 — just as the legend surrounding Armstrong himself had begun to collapse.

"In point of fact we had virtually finished the film," says Gibney. We had done everything. We had mixed it. We had color corrected the film. We had done everything but put on the final credits."

Though Armstrong had dodged repeated doping allegations throughout his career, the credibility of his remarkable story came under more serious fire when in May 2010 former teammate, Floyd Landis, accused the legendary champion cyclist of using performance-enhancing drugs.

"From there, people began coming out of the woodwork," says Matt Tolmach of the events which would subsequently unfold, leading to a Federal investigation (where criminal charges were subsequently dropped) and a US Anti Doping Agency (USADA) investigation which would ultimately lead to Armstrong being stripped of his former titles and end his career.

"When Tyler Hamilton went on 60 Minutes, suddenly it was out in the open, says Gibney of a damaging interview given by Armstrong's former teammate to the popular US news program in May 2011. "We knew the film as constructed would never fly."

"There were several options at that stage," says Marshall. "But it all depended on what would happen next...We were waiting to see what the final results would be of the investigations."

"The conversation we had at that point was that we owed it to the movie to hold on and turn it into something which really reflected what was going on, which is to say for the movie to ask the same questions that the public was asking," says Tolmach. "I don't want to call it a holding pattern because we were doing anything but holding. We were digging in and Alex was doing his investigative work. All of that culminated with the movie that is now The ARMSTRONG Lie."

"I went back and started shooting interviews again in the fall of 2012," says Gibney, who found that many of his subjects were now willing to talk more openly about the events which had transpired. "We'd spent so much time on this story and had so much intimate access with Armstrong that it seemed crazy not to finish it...Of course, the key would be to see whether or not Armstrong himself would make himself available."

In October 2012, producers Frank Marshall and Matt Tolmach flew to Austin, Texas to meet with Lance Armstrong to discuss that very possibility. "This was before Oprah," recalls Marshall, citing Armstrong's chilling confession which would take place in January 2013 on the popular US talk show. "That's where he told us the whole story. And that's when Matt and I sat down and called Alex and said, 'Lance is willing to talk...' That's when we decided to go to Sony Classics and say, 'We think we've got a movie now.'"

"I thought we might be the ones to do it first, but Oprah got there ahead of us," says Gibney, who filmed Armstrong on January 14, 2013 in Austen, Texas, just hours after his confession on Oprah. "It's a rather unique interview," says Gibney of their meeting, "because you can sense a kind of wounded quality in Lance and a kind of vulnerability that I don't think would ever come again."

Gibney continued to shoot while re-cutting material from his film's previous iteration, now working with editor Andy Grieve who had worked on his WikiLeaks documentary. For Gibney and Grieve, the biggest challenge now would be finding the film's structure. As Gibney puts it: "How were we going to integrate what we had shot before into a structure that was about Armstrong doping?"

"In a way the Oprah interview gave us a clue," Gibney continues. "There was suddenly a mystery story at the heart of what we had filmed in 2009, which was why did he come back? And not only why did he come back, but what did we see in 2009 that would give us insight into that question and also the question of who Armstrong was...Suddenly we realized we had this special material that gave us a clue to Armstrong and his character."

"The other challenge, of course, was that we were lied to," says Frank Marshall. "And that was very difficult. I was a true believer, so it was a huge disappointment. It was a hard thing for us to go through." Having formed a friendship over 10 years with Armstrong, Marshall now describes their relationship as distant, but cordial. "Lance is an incredibly driven, amazing athlete with a lot of character flaws," says the producer. "But he's a human being. I know his family. I know his kids...He's not a monster. But he is a flawed character." "As people who started this journey making a heroic movie about Lance Armstrong, we've come a long way from there," agrees Tolmach. "It's a tough document in that way. But it's an honest document."

Perhaps most poignantly, Gibney's film finds us all complicit to a degree in Armstrong's outrageous deceit – a personal narrative which in hindsight seems so incredibly implausible, yet a story in which we all wanted to believe in.

"That was the beauty of his story," says Gibney. "That was the power of his story...It's the ultimate apotheosis. He's like the Phoenix rising from the ashes. He gets up out of his hospital bed and then decides to himself, 'I'm going to win the Tour de France.' And low and behold, he does it — seven times...It was a very potent myth that Armstrong inhabited. And a lot of people hung onto that myth, which we now know to have been a lie — that he didn't dope...Because it was the story that so many of us wanted to believe."


Former sports writer for The Wall Street Journal, now covers white collar crime.

Co-author of Wheelmen: Lance Armstrong, The Tour de France, and The Greatest Sports Conspiracy Ever.


Wife of former Armstrong teammate Frankie Andreu. In a USADA investigation of Armstrong's doping, she testified that she witnessed Armstrong admitting doping to cancer doctors, a charge that Armstrong denies to this day.

Frankie Andreu

Former cyclist and teammate of the U.S. Postal Service cycling team with Lance in 1998, 1999 and 2000. In September 2006, he admitted to doping while preparing for the 1999 Tour de France.

He later testified against Armstrong in the USADA's investigation of Armstrong's doping practices.

Johan Bruyneel

Managing Director of US Postal during Armstrong's seven straight Tour de France wins. In 2012, was dismissed as managing director of RadioShack-Nissan after the USADA case documents were released to the public.

Daniel Coyle

Contributing editor to Outside Magazine as well as author of both Lance Armstrong's War and The Secret Race: Inside the Hidden World of the Tour de France.

Michele Ferrari

Armstrong's longtime physician and cycling coach, helping him train during his seven Tour de France victories.

He was sentenced to a year in prison in 2004 for sporting fraud related to doping though later acquitted. In 2012, he was charged by the USADA with "administration and trafficking of prohibited substances" and given a lifetime ban from professional sport.

George Hincapie

Teammate of Armstrong and the only rider to assist him in all seven of his Tour de France victories.

In October 2012, he admitted to the use of performance-enhancing drugs.

Phil Liggett

English commentator and journalist in the world of professional cycling. Before the doping scandal, he was a long-time supporter of Lance Armstrong and a regular speaker at "Livestrong" events.

Steve Madden

Editor-in-chief of Bicycling magazine from 2002 until 2008.

Bill Strickland

Journalist and author whose work focuses primarily on cycling. Author of Tour de Lance.

Jonathan Vaughters

Teammate of Armstrong's during his first Tour de France win in 1999. He is now the manager of the Garmin-Sharp professional cycling team.

He admitted to doping during his cycling career in August 2012.

Emile Vrijman

A Dutch lawyer appointed in 2005 by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) to investigate claims that samples of Armstrong's urine tested positive for EPO. His report exonerated Armstrong from any wrongdoing.

David Walsh

Chief sports writer of The Sunday Times. Nicknamed the "Little Troll" by Armstrong after he and Sunday Times journalist Paul Kimmage were the first to expose the systemic doping within cycling. He also revealed that Armstrong was working with his doctor Michele Ferrari.

Co-Author of L.A. Confidentiel, which Armstrong successfully blocked from being published in English.


"I didn't live a lot of lies.
But I lived one big one."

– Lance Armstrong; January 14, 2013


Director / Producer

Alex Gibney

Alex Gibney is the director of the 2008 Oscar®-winning film Taxi to the Dark Side and the 2006 Oscar®-nominated film Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room.

Most recently, he has directed Mea Maxima Culpa: Silence in the House of God, a story of sex abuse in the Catholic church, Park Avenue: Money, Power and the American Dream which examines the stratification of wealth in America, and We Steal Secrets: The Story of WikiLeaks which he completed for Focus Features.

Gibney has directed and produced several music films including Jimi Hendrix and the Blues (Director), and Martin Scorsese Presents The Blues (Producer), an 8-film documentary series (and accompanying book and multiple CD release) on the blues, including films by Scorsese, Wim Wenders, Mike Figgis, Clint Eastwood and Antoine Fuqua.

In 2010-2011, Gibney released four films as director: My Trip to Al-Qaeda, based on the one-man play by Lawrence Wright, the Pulitzer Prize–winning author of The Looming Tower; Client 9: The Rise and Fall of Eliot Spitzer; a segment on Sumo wrestling in the omnibus film, Freakonomics; and Magic Trip, a time travel immersion experience about the famous 1964 bus trip taken by Ken Kesey and the Merry Pranksters.

In 2011, Gibney also directed Catching Hell for ESPN's 30 for 30 series.

Other credits as Director include Magnolia Pictures' releases Casino Jack and the United States of Money and Gonzo: The Life and Work of Dr. Hunter S. Thompson.

In addition to the Oscar®, Mr. Gibney has received numerous other awards, including a Grammy, multiple Emmys, the Peabody Award, and the DuPont-Columbia Award for Broadcast Journalism.



Frank Marshall

With more than 70 films to his credit, Frank Marshall is a visionary producer who has helped shape American film. He is also an acclaimed director and active participant in public service and sports. Marshall's credits as a producer include some of the most successful and enduring films of all time.

His lengthy and fruitful collaboration with Steven Spielberg and Kathleen Kennedy began in 1981 with Raiders of the Lost Ark. Following the productions of E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial, for which he served as Production Supervisor, and Poltergeist, which he produced, the trio formed industry powerhouse Amblin Entertainment. During his tenure at Amblin, Marshall produced such films as Fandango, Young Sherlock Holmes, Gremlins, the Back to the Future trilogy, Who Framed Roger Rabbit?, Always, Hook, Empire of the Sun and his own directorial debut, Arachnophobia. Marshall left Amblin in the fall of 1991 to pursue his directing career and formed The Kennedy/Marshall Company with Ms. Kennedy. The company's productions include such diverse films as The Indian in the Cupboard, Snow Falling on Cedars, A Map of the World, The Sixth Sense, Olympic Glory, the first official large format film of the Olympic Games, M. Night Shyamalan's Signs, Seabiscuit and the four blockbuster films in the ,Bourne series. Moving into independent films in 2007, the Kennedy/Marshall Company produced the critically acclaimed The Diving Bell and the Butterfly, filmmaker Julian Schnabel's adaptation of Jean-Dominique Bauby's moving memoirs, and the English language version of the French animated Persepolis, which tied for the Jury Prize at Cannes and received an Oscar for Best Animated Film.

In 2011 The Kennedy/Marshall Company produced Clint Eastwood's Hereafter, The Last Airbender and The Spiderwick Chronicles.

The Kennedy/Marshall Company released three Steven Spielberg films in 2011 and 2012, War Horse, The Adventures of Tintin: Secret of the Unicorn and Lincoln, starring Daniel Day Lewis.

Marshall recently directed Right To Play, a documentary for ESPN Films and their 30 for 30 series. The film follows the story of Norwegian speed skater Johann Olav Koss, as he brings sports to hundreds of thousands of children in war-torn and poverty-stricken areas across the globe. In the summer of 2009, Marshall traveled with Koss to Uganda to see and film firsthand the Right To Play programs in action. The documentary aired on CBS in June 2012 and received the Audience Award at the 2012 Mountainfilm Festival in Telluride.

In 2012 Marshall took over as the sole principal of the Kennedy/Marshall Company when partner, Kathleen Kennedy, became Chairman of Lucasfilm, Ltd. He is currently in preproduction on Jurassic Park IV.

A Los Angeles native and son of composer Jack Marshall, Frank ran cross-country and track as a student at UCLA and was a three-year varsity letterman in soccer. Combining his love for music and sports, Marshall and America's premier miler, Steve Scott, founded the Rock 'N' Roll Marathon, which debuted in 1998 in San Diego as the largest first time marathon in history. For over a decade, Marshall was a vice president and member of the United States Olympic Committee. In 2005 he was awarded the Olympic Shield, and in 2008, inducted into the U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame for his service to the Olympic movement.

He serves on the Board of Athletes for Hope, USA Track & Field Foundation and USA Gymnastics, is Co-Chair of LA's Promise and is an Executive Board member of UCLA School of Theatre, Film and Television and The Archer School for Girls. He is a recipient of the acclaimed American Academy of Achievement Award, UCLA's Alumni Professional Achievement Award and the California Mentor Initiative Leadership Award. Marshall is a recipient of the 2008 Producers Guild of America's David O. Selznick Award for Career Achievement, as well as the 2009 Visual Effects Society's Lifetime Achievement Award. He was honored with ICG Publicists Motion Picture Showmanship Award.



Matt Tolmach

Matt Tolmach, President of Matt Tolmach Productions, has been responsible for many critically and commercially successful films as a long time president of Columbia Pictures and most recently as producer on such films as The Amazing Spider-Man™.

The Amazing Spider-Man™, which Tolmach produced along with Laura Ziskin and Avi Arad was directed by Marc Webb and starred Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone. The film has grossed nearly $800m worldwide.

Tolmach recently completed production on The Amazing Spider-Man 2, which will be released in May of 2014. Additionally, Tolmach served as producer on The Armstrong Lie, which will be released by Sony Pictures Classics this November. The documentary, which premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival, follows cyclist Lance Armstrong as he trains for his eighth Tour de France victory. Tolmach is currently in production on The Kitchen Sink, a comedy by Oren Uziel about a teenager who teams up with vampires and zombies to fight off invading aliens which begins production this fall, directed by Robbie Pickering.

Tolmach launched his company in late 2010 and is currently developing several high-profile projects for Columbia Pictures, including Royal Wedding by Nancy Meyers, Dodge and Twist by Simon Beaufoy and a remake of Jumanji.

Tolmach joined Columbia Pictures in 1997 as Senior VP of Production. He was named Executive Vice President of Production in November 1999. From 2003 through 2010, Tolmach oversaw all production activity at Columbia Pictures, a post shared with Doug Belgrad. In 2008, Tolmach was named President of the historic label. Prior to his appointment as president of Columbia Pictures, Tolmach previously served as president of production for the studio. During his tenure as President of Sony Pictures Entertainment, Tolmach oversaw some of the most successful blockbusters in Columbia Pictures history, including the Spider-Man franchise; the worldwide hits The Da Vinci Code and Angels & Demons; Salt, The Other Guys, Zombieland; 2012; Step Brothers; Pineapple Express; Panic Room; Superbad and Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby, among many others.

Tolmach graduated from Beloit College with a B.A. in English Literature. He began his career as an agent trainee at the William Morris Agency and later ran Michael J. Fox's production company before joining Amy Pascal as Vice President of Production and eventually Senior Vice President of Production at Turner Pictures.



Maryse Alberti

Born and raised in the south of France, Maryse Alberti is a multi-award winning cinematographer. With an eye for thought provoking and challenging subject matter, she has had a succession of lauded political documentaries including Enron: The Smartest Guys In The Room, nominated for an academy award, Taxi To The Dark Side, which won an Oscar for best documentary, Client 9 and We Steal Secrets: The Story of Wikileaks. All four films were directed by Alex Gibney. Additionally, she has won two Sundance cinematography awards for H-2 Worker and Crumb.

Her wide range body of work includes collaborating with Todd Haynes on Poison and Velvet Goldmine for which she won an Independent Spirit Award for Best Cinematography and with Todd Solondz on his hard-hitting drama Happiness.

She won her second spirit award for the critically lauded movie The Wrestler, directed by Darren Aronofsky. She has shot many commercials for such companies as Time Warner, United Airlines, Bank of America, Panasonic, Dr Pepper. Over the last few years she has worked with artists Pierre Huyghe and Laurie Anderson.

Maryse lives in New York City with her son.



Andy Grieve

Brooklyn-based editor Andy Grieve's credits include Manda Bala (Send a Bullet), winner of the 2007 Sundance Grand Jury Prize for Best U.S. Documentary and the 2008 Cinema Eye award for Best Editing; Errol Morris's Standard Operating Procedure, winner of the 2008 Berlin Film Festival Grand Jury Prize; and The Carter, a behind the scenes look at rapper Lil' Wayne that premiered at the 2009 Sundance Film Festival.

In 2009, Andy won an Emmy for Outstanding Short Form Picture Editing for his work on a short film directed by Errol Morris for the Stand Up To Cancer prime time special. His editing on ESPN's 30 for 30 June 17th, 1994, directed by Brett Morgen, earned him another Emmy nomination in 2010.

The Armstrong Lie is Andy's second collaboration with director Alex Gibney after We Steal Secrets: The Story of WikiLeaks, which premiered at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival.



Lindy Jankura

Lindy Jankura has worked with Alex Gibney's Jigsaw Productions for the past eight years. She began as an assistant editor and worked on several Gibney feature films including the Academy Award winner, Taxi To The Darkside. As editor, Jankura has worked on the feature documentaries Magic Trip: Ken Kesey's Search for a Kool Place and The Armstrong Lie. Most recently, she's editing Finding Fela, a film based on the life of the late African musician, Fela Kuti.



Tim Squyres

Tim Squyres has edited eleven films for director Ang Lee, including Life of Pi, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, both of which earned him Academy Award nominations , as well as Lust, Caution, Hulk, The Ice Storm, Sense and Sensibility, Eat Drink Man Woman, and The Wedding Banquet.

Squyres has also edited Rachel Getting Married for director Jonathan Demme and Syriana for director Stephen Gaghan. In 2001, he edited Robert Altman's Gosford Park, for which he was nominated for an ACE Eddie Award for Best Edited Feature Film (Comedy or Musical).

Squyres is also credited as editor on two films by novelist Paul Auster: Lulu on the Bridge and The Inner Life of Martin Frost. He was supervising sound editor on Anna, Dogfight and True Love.

His documentary editing credits include Going Upriver: The Long War of John Kerry, Bill Moyers: What Can We Do About Violence?, Moyers on Addiction: Close to Home, and American Heroes.



David Kahne

Music producer, composer, arranger, engineer/programmer.

Executive work:
Sr. VP, Columbia Records
Sr. VP, Warner Bros Records

Ssome of the artists David has produced: Paul McCartney, Romeo Void, Tony Bennett, The Bangles, Fishbone, Presidents of the United States of America, Billy Joel, Dionne Ferris, Shawn Colvin, and Bruce Springsteen.

Also, Sublime, Soul Coughing, Sugar Ray, Chris Isaak, Stevie Nicks, KD Lang, and New Order. The Strokes, Sean Lennon, Reeve Carney, Kelly Clarkson, Matisyahu, Taking Back Sunday, Ingrid Michaelson, Renee Fleming, Teddy Thompson, Regina Spektor.

And some of the artists David produces currently: Paul McCartney, 1991, The Rubens, Dirty Pearls, James McCartney, July Days, Alexz Johnson.

David is also a composer of orchestral music. He's written 3 full-length ballets and composed many film scores, including the score for the Dublin-produced "Bloom", a film adaptation of Joyce's "Ullyses" starring Stephen Rea. He also recently composed a classical guitar concerto that will be premiering in Argentina in the fall

David has his own studio, SeeSquared Studios, situated at Avatar Studios, where he does most of his production work.


"Outstanding. A layered inquiry into the culture of competitiveness, celebrity, moral relativism and hypocrisy."
– Justin Chang, VARIETY

"Succeeds as a probing look into the mechanics of an epic lie."
– Chris Michael, THE GUARDIAN

"Leaves you enlightened and disillusioned but still furious."
– Robbie Collin, TELEGRAPH

"'The Armstrong Lie' is the first and last Lance pic you'll ever need to see."
– Bill Gifford, OUTSIDE ONLINE


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"It was just a good story.
Who wouldn't want to believe in that story."

– Alex Gibney, 2013

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