Sir Bradley Wiggins’ comments on Lance Armstrong ‘unbelievable,’ says UCI president

The British Tour de France winner said Armstrong was the ‘perfect’ winner

UCI president David Lappartient Photo : Yuzuru SUNADA
(Image credit: Yuzuru SUNADA)

The president of the UCI has called Sir Bradley Wiggins’ views on Lance Armstrong “strange” and “unbelievable.”

In Wiggins’ new book Icons, the first British Tour de France winner said the American was “precisely the sort of winner” the race founder had imagined.

Armstrong, who has publicly admitted doping, is banned from cycling for life and was stripped of his seven Tour de France victories.

UCI president David Lappartient, speaking at the Rouleur Classic show in London, criticised Wiggins’ words.

Lappartient told The Telegraph (opens in new tab): “I thought it unbelievable.”

“In supporting Lance Armstrong who’s been banned for life for cheating, for me this isn’t acceptable.

“Bradley Wiggins is Bradley Wiggins. He always says some strange things.”

In his new book Icons, Wiggins writes: “Legend has it that Henri Desgrange, the father of the Tour, envisaged a ‘perfect winner.’

“The ideal Tour de France would have one finisher, a type of super-athlete who would not only defeat his opponents but also whatever nature might throw at him.”

Wiggins writes that Armstrong was “the archetypal Tour de France cyclist and he was precisely the sort of winner Desgrange had in mind 120 years ago.”

In his new book, published last week, Wiggins reveals key pieces from his personal collection of cycling memorabilia and explores some of cycling’s greatest and most controversial figures.

The 38-year-old also writes about his first meeting with Armstrong in a bike race, when the Texan rode alongside him and spoke to the Brit.

His Armstrong comments echo a recent radio interview, when Wiggins said Armstrong is iconic “whether people like it or not.”

In that interview, Wiggins revealed how he had looked up to Armstrong as a young rider.

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Alex Ballinger is editor of BikeBiz magazine, the leading publication for the UK cycle industry, and is the former digital news editor for CyclingWeekly.com. After gaining experience in local newsrooms, national newspapers and in digital journalism, Alex found his calling in cycling, first as a reporter, then as news editor responsible for Cycling Weekly's online news output, and now as the editor of BikeBiz. Since pro cycling first captured his heart during the 2010 Tour de France (specifically the Contador-Schleck battle) Alex covered three Tours de France, multiple editions of the Tour of Britain, and the World Championships, while both writing and video presenting for Cycling Weekly. He also specialises in fitness writing, often throwing himself into the deep end to help readers improve their own power numbers.  Away from the desk, Alex can be found racing time trials, riding BMX and mountain bikes, or exploring off-road on his gravel bike. He’s also an avid gamer, and can usually be found buried in an eclectic selection of books.