Lance Armstrong will return to France once again, this time in a charity bike ride next month. The controversial American cyclist had won seven Tour de France titles, which he was later stripped of for a plethora of doping offences. With his name wiped off all the record books, he claims that he is the Voldemort of the cycling world.
Armstrong claimed that he has no more doping secrets to hide having co-operated with every agency. He said that he has no reason to protect anybody after all the revelations.
The 43-year old said, “At this point, after a federal investigation, a criminal investigation, a civil investigation, a federal agency, the threat of perjury and jail, an anti-doping agency threatening lifetime bans, books - we have got it all. Trust me, it’s all there.
“If we don’t know it by now then I missed it. If the question gets asked, I’m going to answer the question. It’s not like I’m going to protect anybody. At this point?”
The disgraced cyclist will take part in fellow cancer survivor and former footballer Geoff Thomas’ charity bike ride – ‘A Day Ahead’ – which will take place 24 hours before the Tour de France. It is expected that Armstrong will take part in just a few stages of the ride. Despite the hostility he has faced in the European country over the last few years, Armstrong expects he won’t be given an antagonistic reception during his time in the country.
“I could be wrong – I've been wrong plenty in my life – but I've been to France since all this happened and if you walk into a cafe or a restaurant or walk down the street, that's not the reaction I get,” Armstrong claimed.
“People think I have this bitter relationship with the country, with its people. I like going there. I love France. The people are what they are. It's like any place. Some people are cool, some people aren't cool.
“I don’t think cycling is in a better place”
Union Cycliste International (UCI) President Brian Cookson criticized and Team Sky General Manager Dave Brailsford criticized the American for taking part in the cycle ride, but Armstrong hit back saying Cookson doesn’t have a vision for the sport of Cycling.
“I don't know Brian Cookson. I've never met him, never really had a conversation with him, don't know what his vision is for the sport. I don't know if he is even able to form a vision. I don't know anything about the man. But I do know that me and Geoff riding in France for this cause is the least of his problems.”
“I absolutely don't think cycling is in a better place. You guys (the media) can decide if he's done a good job, if he's been tough on Astana, whether he's stuck with his mission statement.
“Plenty of people would argue he's laid down on a lot of things. If he is making public comments, he needs to be talking about other things because this sport is not in a good place for a variety of reasons.
“A lot of it has to do – perhaps some would say – with me. But he doesn't need to worry about this.”
Armstrong compares himself to Voldemort
With Armstrong’s name removed from all the cycling records by Cookson and the UCI, he compared himself to fictional character Voldemort, who is referred to as ‘He who must not be named’ in the famous book series, Harry Potter.
“Who's that character in Harry Potter they can't talk about? Voldemort? It's like that on every level,” Armstrong said.
“If you watch the Tour on American TV, if you read about it, it's just as if you can't mention him. And that will not be the case forever, because it can't be the case forever. That won't work. People aren't stupid.
“When you look at the history books, everybody at this table knows what went on in the 1990s and 2000s, but if you see the results and you still see there are no winners, there's a bunch of seconds, thirds, fourths, fifths, that all just doesn't make any sense. Ten years from now, people aren't going to accept that.”