Lance Armstrong to join 10,000 other cyclists in mass participation event in Iowa

Man stripped of 7 Tour de France titles starts RAGBRAI the same day 100th edition of Tour finishes in Paris (not that he was invited)

by Simon_MacMichael   July 3, 2013  

Lance Armstrong @ Santos TDU 2010 (Photosport International)

Lance Armstrong is to ride in one of the world’s biggest mass participation cycling events, the Register's Annual Great Bicycle Ride Across Iowa – commonly referred to by its acronym, RAGBRAI – and the disgraced cyclist has said he is fully prepared to deal with a hostile reception from fans.

The 41st – or XLI, if you're into the whole Roman numeral thing – edition of the week-long event takes place from 21-27 July and covers 406 miles.

Each year it attracts some 8,500 riders intent on lasting the duration, plus another 1,500 one-day entrants as well as others who have not registered.

Armstrong, last year stripped of the seven Tour de France titles he won between 1999 and 2005 and banned from competitive sport for life – as a non-sanctioned event, RAGBRAI is one of those he can participate in – first took part in it in 2006, the year after his first retirement from cycling.

His appearance will mark his most high-profile sporting appearance since confessing in January to Oprah Winfrey on live TV that he had doped his way to those Tour de France wins.

Quoted on USA Today, the 41-year-old said that he and members of staff from the Mellow Johnny’s bike shop he owns in Austin, Texas, would spent “three or four days” taking part in RAGBRAI XLI.

"I'm well aware my presence is not an easy topic, and so I encourage people if they want to give a high five, great," said Armstrong.

"If you want to shoot me the bird,” – give him the middle finger – “that's OK, too."

He added: "I'm a big boy, and so I made the bed, I get to sleep in it."

The event’s director, T.J. Juskiewicz, said he made no distinction between Armstrong and the other 10,000 participants.

"They have a great time here, and they want to return."

He added that Armstrong had not been paid an appearance fee in any of his participations in the event, although as a former Tour de France champion – annulment of those results notwithstanding – he does not have to pay an entrance fee.

Armstrong spoke briefly of the ongoing lawsuits he faces that could potentially result in him being liable to pay out millions of dollars to parties ranging from the US Department of Justice to UK newspaper, The Sunday Times.

"I'm committing to working through them, and whether it's settling cases or whether it's fighting some cases — because some have merit some don't,” he insisted.

“But I'm committed to the process and that's probably as much as I would and could say about it. That's a tricky area there.”

He added: "Unless you have $135 million you want to let me borrow, or have?"

Armstrong added: "To be honest it's not a statement, it's not an experiment, it's just me wanting to go ride my bike with what in the past has been a friendly group of people that share the same interests."

RAGBRAI XLI starts on Sunday 21 July, the same day that former Tour de France champions will parade in Paris on the final day of the 100th edition of cycling’s biggest race.

Armstrong, needless to say, has not been invited.

19 user comments

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Wow. He still has this knack of somehow being able to stand above himself and treat himself like he's a product or a thing - something to be managed all the time. Witness his wanting to control and own the negative reactions to him.

A fascinating character that's for sure. He's both completely cold-blooded and also a raging torrent of ambition and hubris and (actually) naivety. It's quite a trick.

And for the record I was never a fan.

alotronic's picture

posted by alotronic [289 posts]
4th July 2013 - 7:17

6 Likes

Sounds fair enough to me. Not as if he was the only doper...

Not sure I would be giving him the high five though!

fizzydroadie Smile

posted by fizzydroadie [8 posts]
4th July 2013 - 7:37

5 Likes

The guy is a born fighter. Drugs or no, you don't compete in the TDF at the highest level for so many years if you're a sensitive type of person.
Anyone who just expects him to go crawl under a rock seriously doesn't understand the level of determination that it takes to reach the pinnacle of (any) sport, and how that is inherent in the person's character.

posted by JeevesBath [131 posts]
4th July 2013 - 7:43

5 Likes

Fully agree JeevesBath.

Road cyclist, mountain biker and single speed urban commuter. I love push bikes and blog at http://everythingvelo.com/

posted by sam_everythingvelo [11 posts]
4th July 2013 - 8:08

5 Likes

Quote:
Armstrong, needless to say, has not been invited.

Yet another rider who was stripped of his TdF title is not only there, but will be riding into Paris...

I don't like him or what he did but the reaction to dopers is riddled with ridiculous double standards. The only reason Armstrong has been renounced is because that's the best PR strategy.

CraigS's picture

posted by CraigS [135 posts]
4th July 2013 - 8:52

5 Likes

Quote:
the reaction to dopers is riddled with ridiculous double standards.

That's what annoys me about the whole farce. Where's the clamour to strip Ullrich, Riis, Pantani, Virenque, Vinokourov of their results and stage wins?

You can't airbrush one character out of Tour history and pretend it never happened (or it started and ended with LA) while leaving the rest untouched.

Let him ride - who cares. What would be best for all is if they hadn't even announced it, just let him ride with no announcement, no publicity., Bet 90% of the other riders wouldn't even have known he was there.

posted by crazy-legs [550 posts]
4th July 2013 - 9:28

4 Likes

Doping still exists in the peloton even today – Contador, whom everyone seems to have totally forgiven & love again! Why?
He is no different to Armstrong on that point, how long before he got caught had Contador been doping, we don’t know,yet we batter Armstrong relentlessly? Because he doped? Or because whilst being an outspoken publicity seeking individual making a lot of money he continued to deceived us all so consistently?
Of that there is no doubt and very little ground for recourse but he inspired so many by his strength and resilience to come back from where he did and achieve what he did that no one in the cycling fraternity can deny he was still a serious athlete and gave all he had to achieve this – really the only thing dope did was help him do this quicker than his other dope using competitors - he probably just had better dope!

Does this mean he can never show his face in public again or do even just go out & ride his bike with other people in public - absolutely not.

How many of his counter parts raised as much money for charities as his name did – whether u now despite it or not that little yellow band of his done a hell of a whole lot!!
If his charity fund’s some research into cancer that saves your mother/fathers/sibling or your child’s live are you going to save NO don’t give them that drug because it was helped into creation by Lance Armstrong – hmm? So maybe we should just let him ride his bike like we all like doing?

posted by bfslxo [128 posts]
4th July 2013 - 9:36

6 Likes

Completely agree. Do we really need to force him to disappear for closure? It is bullying! Lance was removed from an event earlier this year because of a ruling against him, that I can completely understand. That is part of his punishment which he understood could occur. This is a mass cycle event and open for all.

posted by TeamCC [146 posts]
4th July 2013 - 10:51

5 Likes

crazy-legs wrote:
Quote:
the reaction to dopers is riddled with ridiculous double standards. That's what annoys me about the whole farce. Where's the clamour to strip Ullrich, Riis, Pantani, Virenque, Vinokourov of their results and stage wins?

Because the Armstrong investigation wasn't about cleaning up cycling, it was a personal crusade by Travis Tygart of the USADA to bring down the biggest name. It's like taking down Al Capone. That's why no-one is going after the other historical dopers, there's no 'glory' in it to stoke their ego....

posted by JeevesBath [131 posts]
4th July 2013 - 11:56

5 Likes

crazy-legs wrote:
Quote:
the reaction to dopers is riddled with ridiculous double standards.

That's what annoys me about the whole farce. Where's the clamour to strip Ullrich, Riis, Pantani, Virenque, Vinokourov of their results and stage wins?

You can't airbrush one character out of Tour history and pretend it never happened (or it started and ended with LA) while leaving the rest untouched.

Let him ride - who cares. What would be best for all is if they hadn't even announced it, just let him ride with no announcement, no publicity., Bet 90% of the other riders wouldn't even have known he was there.


The announcement and publicity would have come from Armstrong.

posted by The Rumpo Kid [590 posts]
4th July 2013 - 12:37

5 Likes

JeevesBath wrote:
crazy-legs wrote:
Quote:
the reaction to dopers is riddled with ridiculous double standards. That's what annoys me about the whole farce. Where's the clamour to strip Ullrich, Riis, Pantani, Virenque, Vinokourov of their results and stage wins?

Because the Armstrong investigation wasn't about cleaning up cycling, it was a personal crusade by Travis Tygart of the USADA to bring down the biggest name. It's like taking down Al Capone. That's why no-one is going after the other historical dopers, there's no 'glory' in it to stoke their ego....

Have you even read USADA's reasoned decision? Armstrong was not just another doping athlete. He was at the head of the biggest doping conspiracy in all sport.

posted by The Rumpo Kid [590 posts]
4th July 2013 - 12:43

7 Likes

...so far.

posted by markyboy007 [20 posts]
4th July 2013 - 12:44

5 Likes

Fair enough. The next time someone wins over five TdF's, I'll be equally suspicious.

posted by The Rumpo Kid [590 posts]
4th July 2013 - 13:00

6 Likes

Rumpo Kid: Have you even read USADA's reasoned decision? Armstrong was not just another doping athlete. He was at the head of the biggest doping conspiracy in all sport.

Sorry, not sure what you mean by that. Confused My point exactly was that the USADA - Travis Tygart - wanted the scalp of the guy at the top. The case was a grudge match between two massive egos, everyone else is just small fish to be thrown back in the pond.
Are you saying that it's acceptable to use drugs as long as you aren't in a conspiracy? That's what the 'double standards' are that annoy me about this situation.

posted by JeevesBath [131 posts]
4th July 2013 - 13:35

6 Likes

Jeeves,
Your statement was a response to the question about there being no clamour to strip other riders of titles and stage wins. As USADA is an American Agency, there is nothing they can do about foreign athletes. They were, of course, instrumental in bringing Floyd Landis to account. (A fact often overlooked by "Armstrong Witch Hunt" conspiracy theorists). Armstrong's punishment, which may seem excessive, is solely the result of his refusal to answer the charges USADA made against him. I'll agree that Armstrong was a big scalp. But what made him a big scalp was the fact that, until such time as a rider dopes to win the TdF eight times, he is cycling's biggest doper. Ever.

posted by The Rumpo Kid [590 posts]
4th July 2013 - 15:09

6 Likes

Perhaps I misunderstand the process, but I thought it was up to Le Tour organising body to strip Armstrong of the jerseys, which means that the USADA themselves can't do it (although they have the power to ban him from competition). In which case, Le Tour could also take the jerseys of Ullrich, Riis (Pantani !!!!)etc. on the basis of new evidence.... but have failed to do so.
I am no 'witch hunt' conspiracy theorist - but don't believe that the system is being applied consistently or fairly in this regard.

posted by JeevesBath [131 posts]
4th July 2013 - 15:16

5 Likes

jeeez amongst all the 'proper' athletes and even the doping ones, this guy really is a t*** isn't he ...

posted by Karbon Kev [682 posts]
4th July 2013 - 15:54

9 Likes

JeevesBath wrote:
Perhaps I misunderstand the process, but I thought it was up to Le Tour organising body to strip Armstrong of the jerseys, which means that the USADA themselves can't do it (although they have the power to ban him from competition). In which case, Le Tour could also take the jerseys of Ullrich, Riis (Pantani !!!!)etc. on the basis of new evidence.... but have failed to do so.
I am no 'witch hunt' conspiracy theorist - but don't believe that the system is being applied consistently or fairly in this regard.

Tour organisers ASO said that Armstrong's name would be removed from the records after 1998 following the UCI's decision not to appeal (and by implication endorse) USADA's sanctions (and they waited for the UCI's lead on the matter). What appears to be a double standard came about because two separate agencies, both with a remit to deal with doping, are involved.

posted by The Rumpo Kid [590 posts]
4th July 2013 - 15:56

6 Likes

Rumpo Kid,

Thanks, I think. Somehow understanding the process seems to make it sound even more fkd up.

Anyway, on the focus of the story - good luck to him. When known dopers are leading their own Gran Fondos, this seems like a less provocative way to still ride his bike...

posted by JeevesBath [131 posts]
5th July 2013 - 8:37

2 Likes