Rest days at Grand Tours are often boring affairs, with riders and teams using the time off to recharge batteries. However, thanks to social media, the fun never really stops any more.
While the 130 riders left in the 2023 Giro d'Italia tried to recuperate, two of cycling's biggest personalities - Lance Armstrong and Jonathan Vaughters - decided to clash on Twitter, in a no-holds barred grudge match.
To understand the beef, you have to know that Vaughters and Armstrong have been far from best buddies for well over a decade. The pair spent 1998 and 1999 together at the US Postal Service team, with Vaughters riding part of the '99 Tour de France, Armstrong's first Tour "win".
Vaughters went on to forge his own career at Crédit Agricole while Armstrong continued his Tour "winning" streak. The former was then one of USADA's witnesses in its reasoned decision which brought Armstrong down and revealed the extent of his cheating.
They have history. Therefore, when Vaughters decided to poke fun at Thibaut Pinot on Sunday evening - which Pinot dealt with in a very good way, incidentally - Armstrong could not resist getting involved.
It did not end with Armstrong calling Vaughters a "f***ing clown", as Armstrong doubled down, claiming Vaughters "did the exact same thing as his entire generation did, threw his own riders under the bus, and got off Scot free".
Vaughters responded: "1. Not every rider of our gen doped. I did. 2. All witnesses in USADA investigation=volunteers. USADA has 0 subpoena power. These riders wanted a better path for the next generation. 3. You were offered: “tell truth keep TdF title.” You could be in sport today. You chose to lie."
All in a day on twitter.com.
Meanwhile, Toms Skuijnš continues to be unimpressed by the weather at the Giro, Ben Stiller likes cycling, and Soudal Quick-Step try to make light of the fact the team is down to two riders.
1. What started as a harmless Twitter spat between Jonathan Vaughters and Thibaut Pinot...
Who are you ?May 21, 2023
2. Soon reopened decades-old beef between Vaughters and Lance Armstrong, he of no Tour de France titles
Who is he? He’s a fucking 🤡. At least based on the 30+ years I’ve known himMay 21, 2023
3. Armstrong, it appears, is still rather unhappy at Vaughters for his role in his downfall
Is this the same @vaughters that did the exact same thing as his entire generation did, threw his own riders under the bus, and got off Scot free?? https://t.co/tgY4Btrkk5May 22, 2023
4. Vaughters brings the cold, hard truth
1. Not every rider of our gen doped. I did. 2. All witnesses in USADA investigation=volunteers. USADA has 0 subpoena power. These riders wanted a better path for the next generation. 3. You were offered: “tell truth keep TdF title.” You could be in sport today. You chose to lie. https://t.co/7eO65UVklJMay 22, 2023
5. But Armstrong will not chill
This is revisionist history and you know it. Remind us, how much time did you serve? Then remind us, how long did YOUR riders, who you threw under the bus, serve? https://t.co/EKqaXJL2RgMay 23, 2023
6. Elsewhere, Charlie Quarterman continues his Twitter renaissance at this Giro
Maybe shortening the stage because of the rain and cold but waiting for a decision. Reminds me of when there was maybe enough snow to cancel school but not loads, sitting next to the radio waiting for the verdict…but this time I revised for the test, don’t mind a wet day out😅May 16, 2023
7. Thomas De Gendt watches on, longing to be at the Giro where it's all about the last man standing
Wish i was in the Giro. At this rate of riders dropping out i could have ended up on the podium again.May 16, 2023
8. Trek-Segafredo has a fascinating solution to that age old problem of wet shoes. No newspaper here, just hot air not on print
For a moment today I though I would have dry shoes at the finish line today. It was not meant to be, so back hanging out with my soon to be best friend pic.twitter.com/9x8iMpjpPQMay 17, 2023
9. It's fair to say the Latvian is unimpressed with the weather in Italy right now
Giro fun fact. We are 15 stages in, there have been 4 days where we didn't get rained on during the stage.May 21, 2023
10. Not everyone hates the rain...
A photo posted by on
11. Geraint Thomas, fully leaning in to his "dad joke" era
When you come up with a cracking new dad joke And none of the boys laugh pic.twitter.com/yYorZSmGGuMay 18, 2023
12. Cycling famous fan alert! Comedian Elis James loves Geraint Thomas
Braidd gallu gwylio, fi eisiau i Geraint ennill gymaintMay 17, 2023
13. Even bigger famous cycling fan alert! BEN STILLER WHAT
Racing is going to miss @MarkCavendish . What a great exciting competitor to watch. Wishing him all the best. https://t.co/N6sZ1cENMrMay 22, 2023
14. Thomas Champion, hanging out with the late Michele Scarponi's parrot
Recovery w/ Francky 🦜@giroditalia @TeamCOFIDIS pic.twitter.com/TqXeud5M2AMay 22, 2023
15. Stranger things have happened...
The hacker of the Jumbo-Visma Twitter account is still at large.This is the last reported photo of said individual. pic.twitter.com/VL6PdTon9uMay 18, 2023
16. Now Remco Evenepoel is out of the Giro, Thibaut Pinot is attempting to become the best footballer in the bunch
Thibaut Pinot from FC Groupama-FDJ pic.twitter.com/xQ5uvrifk5May 17, 2023
17. It's not all Giro - would you like any more road rash, Gleb Syritsa?
🇫🇷 RACE: @4JDDunkerque Gleb Syritsa banged-up all over the body but he is a strong fighter. Heal well, Gleb!#4jdd #AstanaQazaqstanTeam pic.twitter.com/SFoVVzvtsPMay 16, 2023
18. Megan Jastrab of DSM had a dusty day out in Flanders at the weekend
Still washing the dirt off from Antwerp Port Epic on Sunday pic.twitter.com/qBrc0ZVNGSMay 23, 2023
19. Back to the Giro, and poor Soudal Quick-Step are down to two
At least we get to have a great cover if we ever decide to launch an album about this #Giro 😁 pic.twitter.com/ybQpMPNuKzMay 23, 2023
20. Finally, back to Vaughters. He has the final word on the Twitter spat. He's also not a persona non grata in cycling, unlike Lance...
Whatever. 🙄May 23, 2023
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