According to the UCI, Lance Armstrong is not permitted produce his podcast in association with the organisers of sanctioned events. However, the governing body generously confirmed that he’s otherwise free to speak about cycling “and any other topic.”
Armstrong launched the Forward Podcast last year and has since drawn a sizeable audience for an offshoot called Stages which focuses wholly on bike racing. “A man with no platform is a lost man," he told CNN.
Stages aired about an hour after each stage of this year’s Tour de France and attracted hundreds of thousands of listeners each day.
The Denver Post reports that when RPM Events announced that it had offered to provide production and travel expenses so that Armstrong could produce the podcast for last week’s Colorado Classic, USADA got in touch.
The agency said that the terms of Armstrong’s ban prevent him from “participating in any activity or competition” hosted by a group that falls under the agency’s anti-doping regulation.
Race spokesman Ben Davis, said: “In light of concerns expressed by USADA, we came to a mutual agreement that it is in the best interest of the Colorado Classic to cancel the marketing partnership with the ‘Stages’ podcast.”
Armstrong instead set his studio up in the courtyard of Denver’s Infinite Monkey Theorem winery and covered each of the four stages from there. The location was part of the associated Velorama Festival and near the finish of the final two stages of the race.
“He’s a huge wine buff,” said Ben Parsons, who founded the winery. “It just seemed like a good fit to have him here during the event. The podcast is very interesting. Some people will love him or hate him but he’s a guy who has shown resiliency and character. I don’t have an opinion one way or another about all that … but it will be good for the winery.”
In a statement following discussions with the US Anti-Doping Agency (USADA), the UCI said: “Lance Armstrong’s ineligibility prevents him from participating in a sanctioned event in an official or professional capacity, such as through a marketing agreement.”
They did however add that they “do not regard this limitation as preventing Lance Armstrong from attending cycling events or conducting a podcast on (or otherwise commenting upon or speaking about) cycling and any other topic.”