Wellington bike mechanic Mike Anderson says he will not sue Lance Armstrong despite the disgraced cyclist's drugs confession.
American-born Anderson was forced to relocate his family to New Zealand in 2007 after Armstrong "declared World War Three on me" following his claims the Texan used illegal steroids.
He is the first of several Armstrong associates - regarded as close friends but who were "run over" by him and suffered huge financial and emotional consequences - to say he won't sue.
That will be a relief to Armstrong, who employed Anderson as his personal assistant in 2002, and already has legal cases piling up against him since his confession.
Anderson's stance is far from conciliatory, even though he revealed he is finally starting to feel "closure" after Armstrong came clean at last.
"It's better now because the scales have tipped in my, and everyone else's favour," he said yesterday in what he said would be his "final word" on Armstrong.
"The truth is now widely accepted because he's admitted to it.
"That's a relief but he cannot give me back the loss of a lot time, emotional energy, damage to my reputation and family, (loss of) money and the stress he caused me.
"Would I ever re-open action against him and try to get back the money he took? No, it's dirty money. I can't accept that. The money he has now is from a fraud he perpetuated.
"I don't have the stomach for it any more. I couldn't go though it again in life. I couldn't put my family through it again. What he has taken from me and my wife and what it has caused me, I can't ever get that back.
"I've wasted too much time on Lance . . . he will never be a credible person. Ever, ever, ever."
Along with former team masseuse Emma O'Reilly and Betsy Andreu, the wife of Armstrong's former team-mate Frankie, Anderson is the highest profile victim of the Texan's aggressive tactics.
He was sacked by Armstrong in 2004, shortly after discovering evidence of drug use in his boss' Spanish apartment. He went public with the accusation shortly after and Armstrong sued, forcing an out-of-court settlement and hounding Anderson all the way to New Zealand.
Despite having known Armstrong since both were 16, Anderson said accepting his friend's offer to be his personal assistant had ruined his life.
"It's the poorest judgment I have ever exercised and I'm ashamed of it . . . I was just so f...... naive. I was in over my head and I was used and manipulated."
"My failure of judgment is going to bother me for a long time . . . I feel stupid."
Anderson also expressed contempt for Armstrong's reasoning in the Oprah Winfrey interview that all top cyclists were cheating and for the confessed cheat's claim he was clean when he finished third in the 2010 Tour de France.
"Everybody doping does not make a level playing field. Different people react differently to performance-enhancing drugs and he was one of the people that it really helped.
"Third in 2009. That's suspect. How did he make the top 10 without doping?"
- Sunday Star Times
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