UCI president Brian Cookson has warned Lance Armstrong that Tour de France fans are unlikely to welcome him if he joins former England footballer Geoff Thomas on his charity ride this summer – and has repeated his appeal to the disgraced cyclist not to take part in it.
Armstrong, who in 2012 was stripped of the seven editions of the race he won from 1999 to 2005, plans to join Thomas for two days of the ride, which follows the entre route of the race, one day ahead of the peloton.
Thomas undertook a similar ride in 2005 after he had overcome chronic myeloid leukaemia and credits Armstrong with helping inspire him to fight the disease.
The ride, called One Day Ahead, aims to raise £1 million for the charity Cure Leukaemia.
Speaking at the SportAccord convention in Sochi, Russia, Cookson said, "I think he [Armstrong] needs to bear in mind that he may not get quite the welcome he would like in France riding around the route of the Tour the day before,” reports Yahoo! Sports.
"There are a lot of people already out on the route the day before the Tour and I am not so sure they would be delighted to see Lance Armstrong, so maybe he needs to bear that in mind.”
He added: "It is undesirable, I think it is disrespectful. I think there are plenty of ways of raising money for charity that Lance could do."
Last month Thomas, who travelled to Austin, Texas earlier this year to persuade Armstrong to take part said he had “no regrets” about inviting him.
“With Lance it was always going to be controversial, I knew that,” he said.
“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,” he added.
Simon joined road.cc as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.