For years, as Lance Armstrong basked in the glow of an adoring public, his critics frequently were banished to the shadows, dismissed by the cycling legend and his coterie as cranks or worse.
Now, with Armstrong stripped of his titles and endorsement deals, those who spoke out against him before it was the popular thing to do are feeling vindicated.
"Eleven years of bullying and threats," Kathy LeMond, the wife of cyclist Greg LeMond -- one of Armstrong's earliest targets -- wrote on Twitter. "LA is now the Greatest Fraud in the History of Sports."
In some cases, vindication could also mean getting back huge sums of money.
A Texas insurance company that once refused to pay Armstrong a promised $5 million bonus for winning a Tour de France, citing reports that he had doped, ended up having to pay it plus his legal costs. All told, over the years SCA Promotions paid $12 million. Now, it is "considering all legal options" to get its money back.
London's Sunday Times has also said it may sue Armstrong over a libel case he brought against the newspaper that resulted in a costly payout.
This turning of the tide comes after cycling's international governing body, the International Cycling Union, agreed with the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency's decision to strip Armstrong of his seven Tour de France titles.
The move concluded a stunning few weeks of freefall for Armstrong, beginning with the release of hundreds of pages of testimony and other evidence describing Armstrong's involvement in what USADA called the most sophisticated doping program in cycling history.
Among other things, the report included affidavits from key Armstrong critics Frankie and Betsy Andreu, Emma O'Reilly, Tyler Hamilton and Floyd Landis, all of whom spoke out against Armstrong and, in various ways, paid the price.
Frankie and Betsy Andreu
Once a close friend of Armstrong, cyclist Frankie Andreu had a falling out with him after his wife, Betsy, began to cooperate with a reporter working on a book about doping allegations against Armstrong.
According to Frankie and Betsy Andreu, they were in an Indianapolis hospital room when Armstrong acknowledged to a doctor treating him for cancer in 1996 that he had used performance-enhancing drugs.
They later testified about the incident during the arbitration case filed against Armstrong by a company seeking to avoid paying out bonuses to Armstrong for race victories during which he was accused of doping.
It was a decision they would pay for, according to Andreu.
"I have been told that my public disputes with Lance Armstrong have made it more difficult for others in the cycling industry to work with me because they fear reprisal from Lance and his associates," he said in his affidavit released by USADA.
His wife said she was pressured to sign a statement disavowing the story, and when she refused, was "vilified."
"I became, in Lance's words, 'bitter' and 'vindictive' and 'jealous,'" she said in her affidavit.
She recently told Cycling News that "grown men were torn to shreds by Armstrong," and said she was "extremely grateful" to USADA for its investigation.
'What Joe Public thinks of me I don't care," Andreu told the New York Daily News. "I care what my family and close friends think of me. When it affects my husband's ability to work then it's grossly unfair. Who knows how many jobs he lost because I refused to lie to protect Lance."
On Twitter recently, Armstrong's former personal assistant said things started getting easier for her when the USADA report came out and "people started realising I wasn't some 'prostitute' liar!"
That's what O'Reilly, the former soigneur -- part masseuse, part go-fer for the U.S. Postal Service cycling team -- says Armstrong called her when she went public with accusations against him.
Like Betsy Andreu, she first told her story in the French book "L.A. Confidentiel," co-written by sports reporter David Walsh of London's Sunday Times.
She told USADA that she went on a clandestine trip to pick up and drop off what she assumed were doping products for Armstrong. She also said she was in the room when Armstrong and two other team officials came up with a plan to backdate a prescription for corticosteroids for a saddle sore to explain a positive steroid test result during the 1999 Tour de France.
"Now, Emma, you know enough to bring me down," she says Armstrong told her after the meeting.