Don’t cry for me: Lance on his bike as storm swirls

ASPEN, Colorado: Lance Armstrong says he is more at peace now than he has been in a decade.

In his first interview since the US Anti-Doping Agency hit him with a lifetime ban from professional cycling and stripped him of his seven Tour de France titles, Armstrong said: ”Nobody needs to cry for me. I’m going to be great.”

Armstrong was speaking after being beaten by 16-year-old Keegan Swirbul at the Power of Four mountain bike race in Aspen, Colorado, on Saturday. Shortly after crossing the finish line and skidding to a stop, Armstrong chatted for a few minutes before saying: ”OK, I’m going to go eat a cheeseburger.”

jkBack in the saddle … Lance Armstrong competes in the Power of Four race in Colorado on Saturday. Photo: AP

He was back in his element in Colorado: on a bike and in a race. A day earlier, USADA had proclaimed that the now retired Armstrong would be banned for life from cycling’s elite professional events and his seven Tour de France titles expunged from his career record because of his ”numerous anti-doping rule violations, including his involvement in trafficking and administering doping products to others”.


USADA said Armstrong would forfeit all titles, medals and prizes earned from August 1, 1998, which means he also stands to lose the Olympic bronze medal he won in Sydney in 2000.

The International Cycling Union (UCI) and Tour de France organisers are yet to comment officially, but USADA made it clear it believes they must honour its findings under the World Anti-Doping Code.

.Support … a young fan makes his feelings known at the event. Photo: Getty Images

”Because Mr Armstrong could have had a hearing before neutral arbitrators to contest USADA’s evidence and sanction, and he voluntarily chose not to do so, USADA’s sanction is final,” the agency’s statement said.

Armstrong, whose cycling exploits following his recovery from cancer were an inspiration for millions of people, has vehemently denied the doping accusations that have swirled around him throughout his career.

Many fans leapt to his defence on Friday, not necessarily to protest his innocence but to laud his efforts in fund-raising for cancer awareness and his support of those touched by the disease. The Lance Armstrong Foundation, launched in 1997, has raised almost $US500 million – and donations through its Livestrong website were up on Friday, foundation chief executive Doug Ulman said.

Sponsors also expressed support, with firms such as Nike and brewer Anheuser-Busch saying they would continue their relationships with Armstrong and his foundation.

Armstrong himself looked relaxed as he set off with the rest of the weekend warriors for Saturday’s race in the Colorado mountains.

Known as a fierce fighter on the bike and off, he surprised many on Thursday night when he said he would not seek to clear himself of USADA’s charges.

Instead, Armstrong repeated his view that the arbitration process was loaded in favour of USADA, an agency on a ”witch-hunt” against him.

Meanwhile, cycling legend Miguel Indurain said Armstrong should keep his seven Tour de France titles until drug charges were proved by a single authority recognised by everyone in the sport. ”Until an organisation recognised by all decides to the contrary, the Tour victories are his,” he said.

Indurain, who won five straight Tours from 1991-95, said there were too many national and international bodies with differing interests in the fight against doping. He also called USADA’s case against Armstrong ”strange”, claiming its pursuit was ”without scruples”.

The Spaniard, writing in Saturday’s Marca newspaper, said he wasn’t surprised Armstrong chose not to contest the charges.


About swimbikerun1
Devoted Father, Husband and Employee.Endurance sports fanatic (running,cycling,swimming).Triathlon athlete and coach.If only days had more than 24 hours.

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