Lance Armstrong has asked whether Team Sky “are too strong to be clean” after the British WorldTour outfit dominated yesterday’s Stage 10 of the Tour de France with Chris Froome winning to extend his overall lead, Richie Porte second and Geraint Thomas sixth.
Armstrong, banned from sport for life in 2012 and stripped of results including the seven editions of the Tour de France he won between 1999 and 2005, took to Twitter after the finish to pose a series of questions about the race.
In the first of those, he asked: “Clearly Froome/Porte/Sky are very strong. Too strong to be clean? Don’t ask me, I have no clue.”
Armstrong, whose US Postal team ran what the United States Anti-Doping Agency called “the most sophisticated, professionalised and successful doping programme that sport has ever seen,” added: “Don’t ask me
The tweet, which was favourited more than 1,800 times and has had in excess of 4,200 retweets, understandably grabbed a lot of attention and received dozens of replies, including this one, to which Armstrong gave what some might see as a rather disingenuous response.
A number of people replying said that given his history, Armstrong had no right to comment on the sport, while others applauded him for seeming to confirm their own suspicions.
One Twitter user, Stephen Hull, asked: “Why trade innuendo when you've openly attacked/sued people for doing the same to you?”
In his other tweets, Armstrong said: “2. The first mtn stage is always unpredictable. The day after a rest day is also unpredictable. Combine the two and its 10x,” adding that “Nibali's tour looks to be over.”
He concluded: “Finally, this @letour is NOT over. Those initial hard efforts that Sky put out today tend to add up and there is a ton of racing left.”
Some may be wondering why Armstrong should suddenly turn himself into a cycling pundit when in the years since his ban he has tended to keep a relatively low profile on Twitter when it comes to commenting about racing and the Tour in particular.
Well, the 43-year-old prefaced those tweets yesterday with one that read: “Getting lots of questions regarding today's first mountain stage @letour. Some thoughts to follow.”
So maybe it’s nothing more than someone who has ridden more Tour de France mountain stages than most, and more often than not at the front of the peloton, sharing their views.
But Armstrong’s latest tweet hints at another reason why he might be tweeting about the Tour right now – it was sent yesterday evening from Denver Airport, as he waited for his flight to join Geoff Thomas for two stages of his One Day Ahead charity ride this week.
He is due to ride the route of the 198.5km Stage 13 between Muret and Rodez tomorrow and the 178.5km Stage 14 from Rodez to Mende on Thursday.
If anyone had forgotten that Armstrong had planned to take part in the charity ride, they won’t now – and it’s guaranteed that after giving his thoughts on Twitter yesterday, the press will want him to expand on them.
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