Storm over Graham Watson pictures branding Greg LeMond a "fool"

Top snapper's URLs attract attention of bloggers, LeMond's daughter and Lance Armstrong

by Simon_MacMichael   October 31, 2010  

Greg Lemond gives Lance the big stare

Graham Watson, the renowned cycling photographer, has found himself at the centre of a row regarding the ‘omertà’ that many believe surrounds the use of drugs within cycling after images of Greg LeMond on his website were found to include the word “fool” in their URLs.

Watson, who has spent more than three decades snapping riders from one of the best vantage points in the sport – the middle of the peloton – has produced some of the most iconic images of both LeMond and, in more recent years, Lance Armstrong, also publishing a book focused on photos of the latter, called Images of a Champion.

LeMond, meanwhile, three times winner of the Tour de France, in 1986, 1989 and 1990, has long been an outspoken critic of the use of drugs within the peloton, and his questioning of Armstrong’s relationship with the Italian sports doctor Michele Ferrari, cleared of doping charges due to the application of a statute of limitations, has led to an ongoing feud with the Texan.

According to the blog The Inner Ring, in a message that has now been removed from Watson’s website, one user said: “Just noticed the URL for the LeMond pics has the word "fool" in it instead of his name. Please correct this, not everyone is an Armstrong fan, and I was going to buy several prints from you, but no longer, very disappointed.”

On 11 October, Watson wrote a reply, now also removed from the site, which read: “Hi Eric, I've not noticed that mistake, I'll have my webmaster look at it. Sorry we cannot appease you, I'm a fan of both guys, they both did a lot for my career, just a shame one cannot keep his mouth shut.. [smiley face] GW”

That reply stops well short of issuing an apology to LeMond for the mistake – assuming that’s what it was – and indeed the URLs of the pictures of LeMond with the word “fool” included still seem to be valid, as can be seen by comparing this address of this picture of the American cyclist with this one.

Things took a rather bizarre turn after news of the pictures’ URLs reached LeMond’s daughter Simone, who used the social networking site Twitter to send a message to Watson, saying in a pair of tweets sent one after the other: “I remember meeting you as a child, I think you know who my father is, and what he stands for,” and “My dad is fighting the good fight. I hope you think of our family, and that you feel ashamed of your comments.”

Ms LeMond’s opinion on the matter certainly drew interest from an unexpected source if one of her subsequent tweets, addressed to Lance Armstrong himself, is anything to go by, with her asking the seven time Tour de France winner: “are you so obsessed with my dad that you have to follow ME?”

7 user comments

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For me Greg is worth ten of Lance...

Watson is an accolite who buys into the myth of Johan Bruyneel.

Very sad turn of events.

jimmythecuckoo's picture

posted by jimmythecuckoo [1348 posts]
31st October 2010 - 19:05


jimmythecuckoo wrote:
For me Greg is worth ten of Lance...

Watson is an accolite who buys into the myth of Johan Bruyneel.

Very sad turn of events.

Agreed, Lemond seems to genuinely love the sport and good on him for having the strength to shake things up.

TheHatter's picture

posted by TheHatter [811 posts]
31st October 2010 - 19:44


jimmythecuckoo wrote:
Watson is an accolite who buys into the myth of Johan Bruyneel.

I get the impression GW has found a cash cow in Lance, has milked it for all it's worth and as a result has lost any sense of perspective.

Either way, doing that needless, spiteful and very childish thing with the URL is just sooo stupid, I'm glad it has come back and bit him. Thumbs up to Simone LeMond.

Greg has annoyed some influential (and wealthy) people with his unwillingness to shut up about doping, which is still occurring in the pro peloton. He may not be perfect but he's doing it for the right reasons. Paul Kimmage too.

Simon E's picture

posted by Simon E [2416 posts]
31st October 2010 - 21:25


How incredibly infantile, though I'm more a fan of LeMond than Armstrong I would be equally offended if the same cheap shot had been taken at Armstrong. Without a respectful apology my admiration for Graham Watson's photography will have been diminished - you can not always separate the artist from the art Sad

posted by otleyrich [9 posts]
31st October 2010 - 21:46


I'd just rather I didn't have to pick a side and could admire both Lemond and Armstrong for their achievements.

posted by italiafirenze [68 posts]
1st November 2010 - 14:01


While it is true that what GL is trying to broadcast is admirable, his progression of speeches are doing more harm than good to the overall industry (you can include Landis) As for GW; grow-up.......just sayin'

posted by Fatrider [3 posts]
2nd November 2010 - 21:15


Funny, when I found the "Fool" URL originally, here was his BS reply back to me via email before posting what he posted on his "Ask Graham" page-

"Eric, thanks for pointing out the URL 'fool' of Greg LeMond's gallery - all our riders galleries' have pet names, and someone went in and changed the original one for 'fool'. We've just changed our access codes so it should not happen again. I actually answered your original question to me on Sorry for the upset caused.

Graham Watson"

Sorry Greg had to see this crap, I had sent the message to Graham so that Greg wouldn't have to know about it. Was surprised when Graham posted a reply on his site.

posted by garwood805 [1 posts]
6th November 2010 - 22:29