Sport Cycling

Wednesday 26 October 2016

Lance Armstrong: Tour de France is too big not to have a winner

Published 08/10/2016 | 02:30

Lance Armstrong Picture: AFP/Getty
Lance Armstrong Picture: AFP/Getty

Disgraced cyclist Lance Armstrong says there could be a time when he considers himself the winner of the seven Tour de France titles he was stripped of for doping offences.

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The fallen sporting icon confirmed he still has his seven yellow jerseys on display in his home and that the Tour de France is "too great and too grand to not have a winner". The period of his reign from 1999 to 2005 currently has no winner in the roll of honour.

"I don't know, that's a fascinating question," he said, when asked if he would one day describe himself as a seven-time Tour winner while speaking to Newstalk's Off The Ball.

"I'll give you an example, look when George Hincapie (his former team-mate) goes to an event and is announced, they introduce him as 'George Hincapie who rode on nine Tour de France-winning teams', and nobody questions that and everybody claps - seven for me, one for Contador and one for Cadel Evans.

"But if I was to go to an event and announce myself as a seven-time Tour de France winner, people would lose their s**t. So it's a bit hypocritical. But the event is too great and too grand to not have a winner. So that's where I always get to."

Armstrong has reaffirmed his desire to sit down for an interview with the Sunday Independent's Paul Kimmage.

Kimmage was a prominent figure in the long-running and exhaustive investigations that ended with Armstrong admitting he had taken drugs throughout his cycling career.

Armstrong and Kimmage were involved in a memorable confrontation at a press conference before the 2009 Tour of California after the Irishman had referred to him as a 'cancer in cycling'.

"Paul's an interesting case. I had one interaction with Paul at the press conference in California. I didn't handle it right. I'd love to, whether it's in an interview or over a beer or whatever, I'd sit with Paul any time and say 'Hey, my bad, I'm sorry. I was a complete dickhead'.

"He wants to do an interview ... I think there's a time and a place for he and I to sit down, but truth be told, I don't know Paul Kimmage. I don't have anything against Paul Kimmage.

"There was that one interaction which I'll fully cop to, I'll fully confess to that I was out of line, but s**t, other than that, I'm happy to sit down with him at some point."

Irish Independent

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