Banned former rider Lance Armstrong says during interview with Rouleur magazine that he has been motorpacing BMC's Tejay van Garderen. Photos by Jakob Kristian Sørensen

Banned former rider Lance Armstrong has been helping BMC Racing Team’s Grand Tour contender Tejay van Garderen with his training by motorpacing him.

Armstrong revealed his role in van Garderen’s race preparations during an interview with Rouleur magazine #51, published today (Friday).

Armstrong spoke to Danish journalist Morten Okbo at his home in Aspen, Colorado, where Okbo spent three days with the Texan along with photographer Jakob Kristian Sørensen.

During a car journey to a restaurant, Armstrong spoke to his partner Anna Hansen on the phone, saying “Hi, baby. Yeah. I’m with the Danes now. They’re dressed like the Blues Brothers, man! Crazy shit. What? No. I just motor-paced Tejay for an hour. My ass is about to fall off.”

Armstrong is currently serving a lifetime ban from competition after admitting to doping during all of his seven Tour de France victories, which were all subsequently stripped from him. The ban extends to all sports and USA Cycling sanctioned events outside of racing. He was blocked from riding in George Hincapie’s Gran Fondo in October.

Now, though, it appears that he is playing a role in assisting  a rider in a new generation of American Grand Tour contenders. Armstrong has a connection with van Garderen’s BMC Racing team in life-long friend Jim Ochowicz, the squad’s manager. Armstrong’s role in assisting with van Garderen’s training will undoubtedly raise some eyebrows.

Despite his continuing involvement with parts of the sport, Armstrong did not hold back in his scorn for professional cycling and how he has been treated, which he feels is unfair in comparison to some of his peers who have also been found guilty of doping.

“The sport is so weak,” Armstrong said of professional cycling. “Just fundamentally weak. From the unity standpoint. From a rider’s standpoint. The teams. They have no authority. No power. So when you have a shit show like we’ve seen with me, someone from the outside can just step in, go back 12 years in time, and royally screw a sport and a new generation that deserves none of this. Cycling and its hypocrisy is off the charts.”

lance_part_1 (53 of 73)Armstrong in his garage. Photo by Jakob Kristian Sørensen for Rouleur

Armstrong did admit that he has regrets over being “aggressive” during his career, and the lengths that he went to to cover up and deny his doping, a cover-up which he said became “bigger than the races”.

Okbo asked him whether he would make different decisions in his career if he could go back and start again.

“Making the decision to dope? Well, we all made that decision,” said Armstrong. “Once we realised – this was when we arrived in Europe and got our asses kicked – that we had brought knives to a gun-fight, we all went out and got guns. So virtually everybody in the business made that decision.

“My set of options was to go back to the US and work in a bike shop. Well, I didn’t take that option. So this was the times of the sport. But don’t f**king over-apologise about it. Everyone is now going; ‘oh, I’m so sorry…’ I can’t take that narrative and run with it.”

  • princessfab

    Nice job training, Lance. Abandoned on stage 17? Par for the course for your career trajectory. (Disclaimer: my disdain is for just my former idol and not for Teejay, who thus far has NOT displayed utter disregard not just for his sport but for everyone who participates in it. We’ll see how that pans out.)

  • JB Fatdog

    It’s funny how Lance is the poster child for doping when there are 100’s of other pro athletes (just look at baseball to start with) did EXACTLY the same thing, lying and all. But somehow many of the pro’s depending on how much they are considered a “good guy” like Braun (Milwaukee, Brewers) go back playing the sport as nothing happened. How is it that Lance is SOOOOO much worse?

  • Peter Marlow

    But he had his 7 Tour de France victories taken away from him – and still the guy doesn’t understand what he’s done wrong. Other riders may have cheated and got away with it, but I doubt that any that were caught and punished carried on bleating for years that they’d been treated unfairly – or kept displaying the jerseys and silverware.

    Doping has gone on in cycling for decades. For many cyclists in the past it was a case of survival, both physical and economic. That doesn’t make it right or excuse it. But Lance was an empire builder, an egotist of the worst kind – not only did he lie and lie again and again, he intimidated and bullied anybody that dared to question his apparent superiority. The trouble is that he wanted it all – to be the greatest legend, greater than even Merckx, Coppi or Hinault. He spoilt the Tour de France completely for nearly a decade – he effectively stole one of the world’s greatest sporting events, not just from the other riders, but from the public too – he deprived the public of believable racing. He may have fooled virgin fans in the UK and USA, but he didn’t fool veteran fans like myself. We had to endure his insufferable reign for 7 long and boring years.

    The guy is such a prat he can’t even take his fall from grace in his stride. The man is sociopath, a fantasist – a liar and a cheat of the first order.

    No offence intended to you TX.

  • TXrider

    I’m sure the other guys with jerseys who doped still have theirs hanging on the wall. Those guys are no different than Lance in that regard. They just didn’t get caught.

  • TXrider

    I don’t really take these comments by Lance as an attempt for some sort of exoneration. I don’t believe Lance was even suggesting it was “ok” because it was/is rampant in the sport. He knew he was most certainly cheating. They all did and he’s no different than anyone else on that front. Undoubtedly though, he was a bully and THAT was his ultimate undoing. He could have simply denied it, played nice as best as he could, got Landis a job or something, and chances are none of this would have happened. Hubris is a bitch.

  • elan

    What is so sad in this situation is that the U.C. I. said there is no place in cycling for him,but their appears to be room for every other doper.Even magazines have a go in their issues,and this is where the problem lies.You either treat every one the same or you are being hypocritical,and stop trying to sell magazines by having Lance on the front cover,he appears to be okay when you want to sell some more issues.

  • Peter Marlow

    I wonder if the great denialist still has 7 yellow jerseys framed on his lounge wall?

  • Mark M.

    I’ve paced people and not coached them, including a few pros. By your rationale, if Lance were to make Tejay a sandwich, he’d then be his nutritionist.
    And again, nothing he’s done runs contrary to his ban, regardless of whether you like it or not.

  • Steph Durant

    Lance took cheating to a new level: professional, full team ‘requirement’, coercion, bribing of officials and of other teams and riders (Philly incident), coercion and threats of girlfriends and spouses, coercion of opposing cyclists, threats against journalists.

    Forget all the doping. Many cyclists were doing that.

    Lance was the only one doing all the rest of the that really heinous stuff. He was a grade A, first class thug.

    Lance Thugstrong.

  • Steph Durant

    “….helping out …. by pacing him on a scooter”

    Ummmm….that’s what coaches do.

    “What would you have him do?”

    Disappear. Yeah, that would be good; a good start anyways.

  • paul signorino

    His fault wasn’t doping – it was his vendettas. And in terms of the sophisticated level of doping remember this was all worked out and perfected by European ‘doctors’. He was just a willing and very eager test mule.

  • Journey Man

    That is true, but can you point me to the relevant regulation that prohibits that behaviour in sport? Or lists the penalties for that behaviour?

    Non cheered louder than I when that which we all suspected for years was finally revealed about Armstrong, however his penalties and sanctions are the maximum because he refused to cooperate. Others who also refused to name and shame have not been treated so harshly. Armstrong had been made the example, because it was socially acceptable to do so in light of his awful behaviour. There was also an obvious personal element between Armstrong and Tygart, which shouldn’t factored in the sanctioning.

    That doesn’t make it right, and I think he does have a valid point. Now Astana WT and PC riders are getting popped, it looks even more hypocritical to have made an example of Armstrong as cleansing the sport.

  • Steve Williams

    Lance is still as emotionally unintelligent as ever. Doping was never the issue, anyone with half a brain cell knew doping was going on. The reason Lance has been singled out is because of all those who doped, he was the only one who attempted to destroy other people lives. That honor he holds alone and that is why he is hated so much. Cycling has a long, troubled past with the needle and pill but Lance distinguished himself as not only a doper but as a world class sociopath.

  • Derek Biggerstaff

    I think “hate” is a bit strong for the attitude I expressed. Is it really “self righteous” to be confidant that your misdeeds in life don’t stack up to Armstrong’s? You can’t be very confident in your case if you have to exaggerate my points in order to argue with me.

  • ian franklin

    Untrue. See my comment above.

  • ian franklin

    Marlon: You completely miss the point. It may or may not be true but it is not an argument to use to exonerate yourself. All he does my doing this is makes himself into a victim and avoids all responsibility. Apart from that he drove the levels of doping to a new high, he was more sophisticated, he defended himself by bullying and then once caught he blamed others. It is not true to say that the whole peloton was doping and that’s why they had to do it when the US team hit the road in Europe. This is a mistruth. When he came to Europe sophiisticated blood doping was unheard of, some EPO, yes. It was Armstrong along with his dubious ‘dotors’ and encouraged by Bruneel who drove it to new levels. Not only that he used it in the USA where he claims (by implication) that there was little or no EPO use. The US is known for huge amounts of doping amongst the amateur ranks and masters (according the the US riders I ride with on a regular basis).

  • Brad Dunbar

    I don’t think we really know the answer to that question. What other individual from that era has had millions of dollars spent on investigating them personally. Most just answered a few questions, served there token ban, and returned to racing. What is it with you self righteous type who have so much hate for a human who did absolutely nothing to you?

  • scottrsmith

    I don’t know how you can be disgusted by what Lance says, it is all true. He did not start doping, he only did what everyone else was doing. We know that the tour winners before him doped, so what makes you think he had a choice? It was either dope, or go home. He sure was not in a position to stop cycling from doing this. Look where Lance learned how to dope. He learned from the Italians, and probably from the Spanish too. But no one complains about that. Lance is just easy to hate, so you blame him for all of doping in cycling. That is just ignorant.

  • elan

    What disgusts me more is the fact that every other doper is okay,and when one gets caught Lances name gets mentioned,just to make their case sound better.We are talking about cycling here,and if every cyclist who has been caught was serving a life ban then you would be lucky to get enough for a Sunday run.

  • Derek Biggerstaff

    How many of the others who doped also tried to destroy the careers and lives of everyone who got in the way of their cheating? Armstrong was way worse than just another doper.

  • Marlon

    But it’s true. many of the top contenders did it. if you don’t take it you won’t make it.

  • Mark M.

    Not against the terms of his ban. He cannot be directly involved with a team. His ban says ZERO about helping out a friend by pacing him on a scooter. It’s outside the team, and anything remotely resembling sanctioned by a governing body..
    And Lance is 100% correct about others who doped. They ALL did it. Many got caught. Some left, but the VAST majority were welcomed back with open arms. Hypocrisy defined.
    His admission of doping was taking responsibility. His acceptance of the ban was taking responsibility.
    What would you have him do? Strip naked and flagellate at the foot of the podium on the Champs Elysse?

  • ian franklin

    He disgusts me the more I hear his quotes. He avoids taking the responsibility for himself by saying that all the others did it too. A typical sociopath’s response. Just ask any psychiatrist and they’ll tell you that this type of response is one of the indicators. As for motorpacing TJ – personally, if I was the UCI I would warn Armstrong, TJ and the BMC team because this level of involvement is against the terms of his ban.