International Cycling

Disgraced Lance back on TDF route

2015-07-15 14:18
Lance Armstrong (AFP)

Toulouse - Disgraced American cyclist Lance Armstrong will be back on the Tour de France roads for a controversial charity ride on Thursday, his first appearance since being stripped of his seven titles.

He will cycle two stages of the Tour for a leukaemia charity - from Muret to Rodez on Thursday and from Rodez to Mende on Friday - a day ahead of the competing riders.

The charity, the brainchild of former England football international Geoff Thomas who beat leukaemia, aims to raise "around  $1.5 million mainly via sponsorship garnered by the 10 other amateur cyclists riding the route.

The participation of Armstrong, who admitted in a stunning TV interview in 2013 that he had doped his way through the Tour de France throughout his career, has already sparked controversy.

The president of cycling's governing body, the UCI, has warned that Armstrong "may not get quite the welcome he would like" in France.

"There are a lot of people already out on the course the day before the Tour and I am not so sure they would be delighted to see Lance Armstrong, so maybe he needs to bear that in mind," Brian Cookson said in Sochi, Russia, in April.

The UCI president renewed his call for Armstrong to give up the planned ride.

"It is undesirable, I think it is disrespectful. I think there are plenty of ways of raising money for charity that Lance could do."

Armstrong himself dismissed any concerns about a return to the Tour de France - at least in an unofficial capacity.

"People think I have this bitter relationship with the country, with its people. I like going there. I love France," he told a small group of journalists last month.

He also batted off Cookson's comments.

"I don't know Brian Cookson. I've never met him, never really had a conversation with him, don't even know what his vision is for the sport," Armstrong said.

"But I do know that me and Geoff (Thomas) riding in France for this cause is the least of his problems."

Cycling has struggled to shake off suspicions of doping since Armstrong's sudden revelations that rocked the sport in 2013.

Even before this year's event started, there was a doping-related scandal surrounding the tainted Astana team of Tour de France champion Vicenzo Nibali.

And a scintillating performance in Tuesday's mountain stage earned British rider Chris Froome accusations of doping, to which the Kenyan-born former champion reacted angrily, stressing: "I know I'm a clean rider."

Read more on:    lance armstrong  |  cycling
NEXT ON SPORT24X

What To Read Next

 

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
12 comments
Comments have been closed for this article.
Live Video Streaming
Video Highlights
Sport Talk

 
 
Men
Women
Love 2 Meet
Sport24 on Twitter

Follow Sport24 news on Twitter

English Premiership flutter

Take Sport24's "expert" tips at your peril...

Featured

The 2017/18 Absa Premiership season is under way. Can Bidvest Wits defend their title? Will Soweto giants Kaizer Chiefs or Orlando Pirates emerge victorious? Or will the bookies' favourites, Mamelodi Sundowns, taste success for a record eighth time? Stay glued to Sport24 to find out!

Latest blogs
Vote

Besides the 'Big 3' of rugby, cricket and soccer, which of the 'smaller' sports in South Africa do you enjoy the most?

Twitter Follow Sport24 on Twitter

Facebook "Like" Sport24's Facebook page

WIN Enter and win with Sport24!

BlackBerry Stay in the loop on your BlackBerry

RSS Feeds Sport news delivered really simply.

 
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.