Lance Armstrong Still Champ, According to Armstrong

    June 28, 2013
    David Powell
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Lance Armstrong made an ill-advised visit to the Tour de France on Friday.

On the occasion of the 100th edition of the race, Armstrong gave an interview to Le Monde, France’s premier daily newspaper. In the interview, Armstrong claims that the doping scandal that led to his professional demise has ruined his life, and the disgraced rider went on to describe the rampant doping practices during the era of his prominence.

Armstrong won seven consecutive Tours from 1999-2005, though his legacy was destroyed in the wake of a lengthy US Anti-Doping Agency investigation and Armstrong’s subsequent admission to Oprah Winfrey, in January 2013, that he had doped for most of his career.

Armstrong insists that winning titles during that time period would not have been possible without the use of performance-enhancing supplements. He further maintains that he is still the record-holder for tour victories, despite having been stripped of his wins in the wake of the scandal.

Le Monde’s interview broke little new ground, but Christian Prudhomme, the Tour’s director suggested that Armstrong is manipulating the race’s high profile to keep himself in the limelight: “This is a very big tournament,” said Prudhomme, “There are 2,300 accredited journalists here, there are cameras everywhere. So if someone wanted to transmit a message, this is the time obviously, especially since everyone likes this kind of controversial statements.”

Even so, there’s little hope for Armstrong to fully rehabilitate his image. Sponsors were generally quick to disown him after his Oprah interview; he reportedly lost $75m in one day on abandoned sponsorships. He had to sell his Austin, Texas home this spring. Nike held on to Armstrong until May 2013, but even they severed their longstanding ties with the athlete and his Livestrong charity.

Among the under-explored tragedies of the whole Lance mess is the fact that his fall makes key scenes in both “Dodgeball” and “You, Me, and Dupree” nigh unwatchable.

Oh, yeah, the other gem from the Le Monde interview: Regarding former French President Nicolas Sarkozy, Armstrong said, “Il a toujours été cool avec moi” (trans: “he’s always been cool with me”). I’m sure Sarko is relieved.

  • Sunny

    While I do not approve of Lance’s doping, the LiveStrong foundation did a lot of good for a lot of people.

  • Al

    He rode better, doped better, lied better, worked harder. You can hate him all you want, but he’s still the man when it comes down to athletic achievement. He did nothing more than play by the defacto rules. One thing he won’t be denied, I’m happy to see, is the opportunity to toy with the self righteous press. Keep beatin’ the drums boys, he’s still your meal ticket, much as you might hate to admit it.

  • Name

    The government spent over $100 million dollars going after Armstrong. That money could have been used for more important things. At the end of the day, many professional athletes uses steroids or do some form of doping. You are living in a dream world if you think they are not.

    This past month NSA officials and high-ranking government officials were literally lying to our faces, yet no one is up in arms about that. Yet, a cyclist lies about steroids and we have a $100 million witch-hunt.

    It doesn’t make sense. There are more important issues in this country other than a cyclist using steroids.

  • Donna Camitta