Several professional cycling team managers are not happy that Lance Armstrong is 'making a statement' by riding some of the 2015 Tour de France route

When Lance Armstrong takes part in a charity ride this summer, cycling part of the Tour de France route, he will be ‘making a statement’ and his presence near the race is not universally welcomed.

That’s the opinion expressed by several cycling team managers that spoke to Cycling Weekly during the Tirreno-Adriatico stage race on Monday. It’s a way for the Texan to stay in the limelight given that he is serving a lifetime doping ban, they said.

Armstrong is scheduled to ride a couple of stages of the Tour route alongside British former professional footballer Geoff Thomas, who persuaded the American to join him in raising funds for Cure Leukaemia. Thomas is riding the entire route a day ahead of the peloton.

“It’s a bit crazy for him to try to take some marketing for himself,” MTN-Qhubeka’s principal, Doug Ryder told Cycling Weekly of Armstrong’s involvement. “Every time the Tour de France comes around it seems that people come from the dark ages back into the light to try to get some PR for themselves.

“It’s good that he does what he does for cancer, but why use the Tour de France as a way? There’s so much else he can do. Let’s let other people shine and have their day in the sun around the Tour. He’s had his day in the Tour, he’s had his time, he did what he did, made the choices he made. Let’s move on.”

“He’s free to do what he wants, which appears to be gaining attention from the media again,” Giant-Alpecin race coach, Marc Reef added.

“When nobody gives him any attention, he lives his life normally. We don’t want to focus on Lance Armstrong, we want to help cycling in a good way. Focusing on him doesn’t take the sport any further.”

Sports Directors Valerio Piva of BMC Racing and Steven de Jongh of Tinkoff-Saxo were more accepting of Armstrong’s right to ride stages of the Tour de France.

“Each one of us is free to do what he wants,” explained Piva. “In my opinion, the more attention you give this news, the more he wants to do it. He’s paid, he’s paying, but we can’t keep him locked up at home like he’s in a prison cell. Maybe [Thomas] would have been better off not doing so.”

“He’s doing it for charity, from his heart. I have no problem with him doing that,” de Jongh added. “The charity work he did, he did so well.

“It’s a problem that we give it attention. If I’m in the Tour de France, I don’t look what’s going around me, I don’t care. If he’s doing it for charity, getting attention, then it’s good for that charity and cancer. What else can he do in his life?”

Sky’s principal, David Brailsford was not nearly as accepting. He told The Times, “He’s done enough damage already.”

Thomas plans to ride every day of the 2015 Tour de France, from Utrecht to Paris, one day prior to raise £1m for Cure Leukaemia. Armstrong agreed to ride a “couple of stages” with the former Crystal Palace footballer, but has not said which ones.

  • Triman666

    Over the years so many riders have tested positive and some are still testing positive. We all know Lance is guilty but his margin of victory tells me the other riders in the tours also doped. Lance’s whole team openly admitted to doping (for reduced punishments) Are you telling me that every other team which rode beside Postal, and pushed Postal to their limits of endurance, where CLEAN? Please, I was not born last night. Lance has done a fantastic job raising HUNDREDS of MILLIONS of DOLLARS for cancer research and as far I am concerned he won the Tour for all those years against equally dirty riders. He can ride the dam TDF course for charity and I will donate. A lot of you folks griping about Lance need to get a life and move on, he did nothing that hasn’t been done before.

  • Matthew Lee Franks

    So David was there was he? Was he in the University of Freiburg when they doped the whole Telekom Team to the Gills on Government Funds? Was he there When Festina was the First USPS? I can tell you this…. Most cyclists and almost all of the Pros were doping, thus the justification of Omerta. If there were so many clean riders why would they keep the Omerta? Such an uidiot comment from a clueless fool.

  • Hector

    but his point is correct – he’s one of many (or all) TdF winners who were on all sorts of illegal products in order to win

  • Andy Kennedy

    what is it with you people are you all thick as dhit? I don’t give a stuff about Lance but I do care that the rules aren’t being applied consistently. Get that into your yhick skulls ffs.

  • poisonjunction

    Your guilty of repetition, no more argument typical, I doubt you’re old enough to know what you’re talking about, getting your info from comics doesn’t make you the expert you seem to think yourself. Excusing him and his ways shows like him you’re obviously no sportsman, you’re crying enough, and smelly, perhaps you need your nappy changing!

  • Andy Kennedy

    Calm down, don’t wet yourself. I didn’t say he is a good guy. But races were ridden so someone must have won them. The UCI can’t just throw their toys out of their pram and pretend it didn’t happen. So if Lance is disqualified then the title must go to the first rider who has not been found to have doped. I wonder who that is. The thing is, Riis, Ullrich and Pantani still hold their titles and we know that they doped so the whole TdF is a big mockery until it is all squared up. As for Lance “being a bully” well boo bloody hoo, that’s not against the rules of cycling.

  • Scott Hays

    You obviously lack any credentials as a mental health professional. Maybe you put the blame on others when there is a part of your own personality that you don’t like. Those who criticize such people are often found to be wanting …….

  • poisonjunction

    There is a problem not so far raised, his security. We don’t want him made a martyr ……… do we?

    Yeas ….. Nays ……..

  • poisonjunction

    The public gave money, when he was thought to be putting America top of the Cycling world in winning races after himself defeating cancer, they didn’t know he was cheating and bribing his way there.
    Had the the public known – definitely NOT the American Dream – I doubt the coffers would have been as full.

  • poisonjunction

    Two [or many] wrongs don’t make a right.

    A Sportsman he is NOT !

    Anyone who think’s he’s OK, clearly don’t understand sportsmanship …….. he has also demonstrated a propensity for dishonesty, bullying, bribery, ………… it goes on, and on, and still people think he’s a ‘good guy’ …. no, he’s poison!

  • Stephen Abraham

    Apart from raising millions for cancer sufferers via Livestrong, self promotional maybe, beneficial to others, definitely!

  • Stephen Abraham

    Sounds to me that you are the bitter and twisted one who’s carrying all the baggage, why not move on and spout your bile at current drug cheats, or do you believe the sport is clean in the absence of LA?

  • Mike O’Hanlon

    That is probably the most honest response. I think Armstong’s presence will do the charity far more harm than good.

  • John Airey

    I’ve ridden with Geoff Thomas before I don’t think I will again.

  • cahern1968

    We have learned one very important thing about Lance Armstrong over recent years and that is that Lance Armstrong doesn’t do anything unless Lance Armstrong benefits from it.

  • elan

    If we had to think about all the doping that’s went on,even within the current cycling pros.and ex teams,its more trying to hide themselves rather than Lance.I will be glad to see Lance raise more money for cancer research,thats what its about.Move on.

  • Burt Fleming

    Oh, you WERE going to hear about it! Lance is on his “Image Rehab Tour”!!! Make no mistake, Lance is not doing this for charity, unless the charity is himself and his upcoming $100 million dollar whistle-blower lawsuit!

    Lance has already lost $10 million to SCA! So far all he’s managed to do is drive drunk, get his girlfriend to cover for him as he’s playing bumper cars down the road! Now this? He’s a celebrity, its just sad that its the kind of celebrity that impresses people like yourself.

  • Burt Fleming

    You could see a lot of people like Lance, just visit any mental institution or prison! lol You are the archetypal camel with its head in the sand! Be brave, look at the truth and the facts, don’t allow yourself to be brainwashed by Lance and his bull.

    I know, I know, you invested all of this money and time believing in a lie, I get it, it hurts gullible people like yourself. Its okay to move on and admit he’s a jerk and that he did you wrong man! lol! I’m sure Lance can’t wait to meet you! (heavy on the sarcasm)

  • Burt Fleming

    Especially with the ‘Whistle-blower’ lawsuit coming up! haha He’s got over a $100 million reasons to drag the ‘Lance is a great guy” cadaver out of the closet and dust it off..

  • ian franklin

    The fact is that Lance is a sociopath and has massive mental health problems. He needs to be the authoritarian figure that people admire. Those who praise such people have often found to be wanting ……

  • Jon Lucas

    I’ll be finishing the London to Paris ride the day before the TdF gets there. Would be absolutely awesome to get to see Lance. The archetypal scapegoat if ever there was one.

  • cahern1968

    The whole charity side of the story brings to mind Harry Enfield characters of “Smashy and Nicy” who do a lot of great work for charity, but they don’t like to talk about it.

  • Andy Kennedy

    Lance won the TdF 1999 to 2005 whether you like it or not. You can’t erase history by scrubbing his name off. I’m not defending his doping but it erks me that that he has been persecuted for a whole bunch of dopers. Why are Riis, Ullrich and Pantani still on the list of winners? We know they doped but maybe because they are European they get away with it.

  • David Bassett

    Kettle Black comes to mind when there are loads of people
    getting paid to work on the TDF that took drugs.

  • Baz

    He need publicity, he get publicity. Every article, every news item, every letter,every comment, favourable or unfavourable plays into his hands.

  • The Awakening

    RE: “He’s a celeb no matter what they think.”

    As David Walsh has said, Lance Armstrong achieved what two World Wars achieved, a few years where there was NO winner of the Tour De France.

    During WW1, there was NO winner of the Tour De France.

    During WW2, there was NO winner of the Tour De France.

    1999 to 2005, there was NO winner of the Tour De France.

  • Erik Van Bommel

    Sure, cycling’s got some baggage; of that there’s no doubt, and LA keeps dragging it around with him no matter what he does. Chances are, I wouldn’t have heard about Lance’s jaunt around France if the managers hadn’t made a fuss. He’s a celeb no matter what they think.