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Giro d'Italia says Lance Armstrong not welcome at Israeli Big Start

Texan has said he wants to present his podcast from the race - but he won't be getting accreditation...

Organisers of the Giro d’Italia have told Lance Armstrong that he will not receive accreditation for the Giro d’Italia after the Texan, who has a lifetime ban from cycling, said he planned to present his Stages podcast from Israel when the race starts there next month.

Armstrong’s Stages podcast, launched in summer 2016, focuses on cycling – recent episodes include summaries of the Ardennes classics – while a separate series, called The Forward, focuses on interviews with celebrities from the worlds of sport, entertainment, politics and business.

The 46-year-old, who last week reached a $5 million settlement with the US Department of Justice in connection with the ‘whistleblower’ case originally brought by his former team mate Floyd Landis, had outlined his plans to visit the Giro, which opens a week on Thursday with an individual time trial in Jerusalem.

> Lance Armstrong settles $100m USPS case for $5m

“The chance to go to a place like Israel to cover an iconic event like the Tour of Italy is insane,” he said.

But RCS Sport, which organises the race and is part of the same group as the Gazzetta dello Sport, made it clear that if he does attend – there is nothing they can do to stop him watching from the roadside, away from official areas – it will not be with their blessing.

Paolo Bellino, the company’s managing director, told the Italian sports daily: “Lance Armstrong has not been invited by the organisers of the Giro d’Italia.

“He is banned for life by the UCI and therefore cannot play any role in UCI events.

“What’s happened has happened, the fact is that as far as cycling is concerned he no longer exists.

“He isn’t part of our world anymore,” he added.

It’s not the first time that Armstrong, who received his lifetime ban in 2012 and was stripped of results including the seven Tour de France titles he won between 1999 and 2005, has antagonised race organisers by announcing he will attend events.

In 2015, Tour de France director Christian Prudhomme expressed concerns about the media attention on Armstrong when he rode several stages of the race a day ahead of the pros as part of a charity ride being undertaken by former England footballer and fellow cancer survivor Geoff Thomas.

Earlier this year, organisers of the Tour of Flanders came under criticism when it emerged that Armstrong had been invited to speak at an event on the Friday called the Tour of Flanders Business Academy, also accompanying the VIP guests on a bike ride beforehand.

Armstrong pulled out of the engagement a few days beforehand, citing “a very serious family and personal matter.”

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.

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