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"No regrets" says Geoff Thomas over Lance Armstrong charity ride invitation

"It's time to allow him to carry on with his life," says former footballer...

Retired footballer Geoff Thomas has explained why he invited disgraced ex pro bike racer Lance Armstrong to ride part of the Tour de France route for charity.

The former England midfielder, who hopes to raise £1 million for Cure Leukaemia told BBC sports editor Dan Roan he has "no regrets" about inviting Armstrong to take part in the find-raising event that involves riding the route of the Tour the day before the race itself.

Thomas sees Armstrong's involvement as a step in his rehabilitation as a cancer fundraiser.

He said: "I feel he's got a place, in the future - some people might feel it's not now - but I feel it's about time I gave him a lift back into helping people in the cancer community."

Thomas doesn't feel Armstrong's presence is disrespectful of the Tour, an accusation levelled by UCI boss Brian Cookson.

Thomas said: "This is a charity bike ride. The Tour turns up on the day, but the day before or the day after it's just a highway, everything's gone. And that's what the Tour is about."

"I'm celebrating ten years since I did the Tour [route] in 2005. I thought that was pretty special and I want to allow people to join in raising the target of a million pounds to join in and experience what I went through.

"With lance it was always going to be controversial, I knew that. But I feel it's time to allow him to carry on with his life.

"He's paid for his past and he's going to pay more. It's for the governing bodies to sort that out. I just want to give him the opportunity of helping others.

"If his two days of involvement help get more revenue in for a good cause then that's great.

Thomas says it's time to stop dwelling on Armstrong's past.

He said: "Look to the future. I want the future to be better for people in the cancer community."

John has been writing about bikes and cycling for over 30 years since discovering that people were mug enough to pay him for it rather than expecting him to do an honest day's work.

He was heavily involved in the mountain bike boom of the late 1980s as a racer, team manager and race promoter, and that led to writing for Mountain Biking UK magazine shortly after its inception. He got the gig by phoning up the editor and telling him the magazine was rubbish and he could do better. Rather than telling him to get lost, MBUK editor Tym Manley called John’s bluff and the rest is history.

Since then he has worked on MTB Pro magazine and was editor of Maximum Mountain Bike and Australian Mountain Bike magazines, before switching to the web in 2000 to work for Along with founder Tony Farrelly, John was on the launch team for and subsequently became editor in chief of Future Publishing’s group of cycling magazines and websites, including Cycling Plus, MBUK, What Mountain Bike and Procycling.

John has also written for Cyclist magazine, edited the BikeMagic website and was founding editor of before handing over to someone far more representative of the site's main audience.

He joined in 2013. He lives in Cambridge where the lack of hills is more than made up for by the headwinds.

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