...but also a race fixer.
"One of Lance Armstrong's former team-mates has backed up claims that the disgraced American paid off rivals to help win a lucrative $1 million race bonus in the early years of his career.
Last year Four Corners uncovered footage of a sworn deposition by former New Zealand rider Stephen Swart in which he alleged that Armstrong offered him and his team-mates a payment of $US50,000 to allow Armstrong to win the Triple Crown race series in the US in 1993.
The three-race series carried a bonus of $US1 million for any rider who could win all three - a prize which Armstrong duly claimed when he took victory in the third and deciding race in Philadelphia.
Now Frankie Andreu, who was in Armstrong's Motorola team at the time and went on to become one of his key Tour de France lieutenants with US Postal, has come forward with a fresh claim that a payment was offered, and made, during the Triple Crown.
Speaking on the subject for the first time to ABC TV's Four Corners, Andreu said he knew a deal was made with riders from an opposing team during the Philadelphia race.
Watch the Four Corners interview with Frankie and Betsy Andreu.
"I know in Philadelphia Lance was in a break and he made a deal with some Italians to be able to pay them some money in order to arrange so that he would be in the position to be able to win," Andreu told Four Corners.
"I want to say $50,000 was the amount and then he won the Triple Crown."
Armstrong duly won the Philadelphia race to claim what, at the time, was the biggest bonus ever paid on the American tour.
Frankie Andreu rides during a race. Photo: New claim: Frankie Andreu during a race in 2000 (AFP)
Andreu told Four Corners that he remembered Armstrong telling the rest of the Motorola team about the deal, and that some time later, he saw Armstrong with a shoe box filled with cash, which Armstrong handed to the riders he had done the deal with.
"At the time he was focused on the Triple Crown, the million dollars, that's what he was going for. And so if it meant paying off a couple a guys to ride a little bit harder in the break so that he could outsprint them at the end, then, you know, he decided that was the decision he was going to make," Andreu said.
Andreu's wife Betsy has been one of Armstrong's most outspoken critics.
The race-fixing allegations do not form part of the enormous brief of evidence produced by the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA), and this is the first time Swart's allegation that a payment was made during the Triple Crown has received the backing of another rider in that race."