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"Open, honest and transparent" - Tour of Flanders invites Lance Armstrong as special guest

Texan stripped of seven Tour de France titles and banned from the sport for life invited to speak ahead of big race

Lance Armstrong - banned from the sport of cycling for life in 2012 and stripped of his seven Tour de France titles - has been invited by the organisers of the Tour of Flanders to give a speech at an event ahead of next year's edition of the Belgian race.

Today, he was announced as the keynote speaker at an event called the Tour of Flanders Business Academy, which will take place on 30 March, two days ahead of the Monument which next year is held on 1 April.

And no, it isn't an April Fool's joke. Here he is talking about how much he is looking forward to it.

Tour of Flanders Business Academy from Golazo on Vimeo.

 

According to the organisers of the Tour of Flanders, the event will be one in which "business, society and cycling meet and cross-pollinate each other.

"It's a unique physical, mental and sensory experience. Values such as sportsmanship, drive and community are not only central but they are also experienced by the participants.

"At the Tour of Flanders Business Academy, you will complete the final of the Tour of Flanders in the company of fellow sportive business leaders.

"Offer your guests a unique experience, enjoy delicious food and listen to our keynote speaker's experiences.

"Open, honest and transparent."

So they invited someone who cheated his way to seven Tour de France titles, bullied people out of the sport, and still insisted after he was banned for life and stripped of those seven yellow jerseys that he had never used performance enhancing drugs.

Until he confessed to Oprah.

The world of cycling never fails to astonish., does it?

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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15 comments

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gstuplin | 6 years ago
1 like

I agree that Lance was bad and hurt cycling, it’s only because he was caught. Cycling and drugs go hand in hand. Big Mig was 100% doped to hell but he is remembered fondly. Let’s move on and just forgive a little. His mafia had now been replaced 

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Butty replied to gstuplin | 6 years ago
0 likes
gstuplin wrote:

I agree that Lance was bad and hurt cycling, it’s only because he was caught. Cycling and drugs go hand in hand. Big Mig was 100% doped to hell but he is remembered fondly. Let’s move on and just forgive a little. His mafia had now been replaced 

 

Lance was never caught, he was forced to admit doping.

Big Mig is remembered fondly as he was a terrribly nice quiet chap.

If Lance had not been such an overt sociopath and drawn more attention to himself than the historical "heroes" then he wouldn't have had all the associated aggro. That's why I hate him.

Froome-dog is a rather pleasant & polite chap, so he should slip under the radar IMO.

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davel | 6 years ago
1 like

There is some sort of equivalence in the 'everyone was/is at it'* ahem, line.

The reason Lance stands above them all goes beyond doping: it's that his brand of bullying, and lying about the doping, played out in front of us. I'm sure Merckx and the Badger didn't take any prisoners, but Lance's career-ending ruthlessness is by far the best documented. Plus, the entertainment, from the races themselves, to the drama of the inquiries, press conferences and Oprah, is off the scale.

It'll be interesting to see how this Froome episode goes. I think the UCI are damned if they do (ban him and it's another nail in cycling's coffin - I'm not sure how much more 'they're all at it' it can take) and damned if they don't (don't ban him and they get accused of a whitewash: the French press will lay an egg). The technicalities involved won't count for much to an extremely skeptical public and media.

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BehindTheBikesheds replied to davel | 6 years ago
2 likes
davel wrote:

There is some sort of equivalence in the 'everyone was/is at it'* ahem, line. The reason Lance stands above them all goes beyond doping: it's that his brand of bullying, and lying about the doping, played out in front of us. I'm sure Merckx and the Badger didn't take any prisoners, but Lance's career-ending ruthlessness is by far the best documented. Plus, the entertainment, from the races themselves, to the drama of the inquiries, press conferences and Oprah, is off the scale. It'll be interesting to see how this Froome episode goes. I think the UCI are damned if they do (ban him and it's another nail in cycling's coffin - I'm not sure how much more 'they're all at it' it can take) and damned if they don't (don't ban him and they get accused of a whitewash: the French press will lay an egg). The technicalities involved won't count for much to an extremely skeptical public and media.

Merckx was a notorious bully (despite the BS spouted by some who describe him as a 'nice' mafia type) and lied time and time again about his doping even after being found out. Given the amount of times he was busted in an era of limited testing I've no doubt he was as bad a culprit as Armstrong from all avenues but the difference in how people view him and Armstrong is night and day.

The only thing that bothers me (because really it doesn't effect my life one way or the other in reality) is the hypocrisy and double standards, the 'cheating' or gaining an advantage as much as the rules allow or even over that line if you think you can get away with it in itself goes back a long, long time and in all competitive environments, sport or otherwise.

There are very, very few specimens in the history of sport where endurance and/or strength is one of the major requirements who could compete and be successful unaided by anything other than their natural genetic gift, hard work/training and mental fortitude. If you know that you are not cheating but others are and are getting away with it, and that if they weren't you would be in for a shout of glory and money then I'm not surprised they would either join the ranks or just leave altogether.

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peted76 | 6 years ago
3 likes

Mercx cheated fact, he's a hero.

Lance Cheated fact, he's lord Voldemort, but is invited speak at Flanders (maybe the Belgiums are just more forgiving).

Wiggins didn't cheat (but no doubt pushed winning to the limits of the rules).

Shane Sutton appears to have read the book '101 ways Saudi Arabian men keep their women in check'.

Cancellara might have motor doped (we'll never know how he got up those climbs so easily). 

Sagan's elbow was unintentional (he's happy to move on).  

Arnaud Démare can do no wrong (in the eyes of the UCI).

The Russians Oylmpic team don't know anything about cheating.

There's a 60 year old Club time triallist who's wife has been spiking his smoothies (banned until bus pass age).

Eight riders in this years Vuelta a Colombia were caught on EPO or Steriods (after a tip off).

Sammy Sanchez had a solid start to the year but now has retired a bit earlier than expected after a growth hormone was discovered in his wee wee.

Chances are a random test will find at least one second tier Italian doping at any race or gran fondo at any time, (just ask Team Bardiani CSF).

One Brazillian team seem to have not read the rules at all (two bans in two years).

It would appear the Tour de Pharmacy was actually more factual that we first thought.

Every time Chris Froome puffs on his inhaler, Brailsford kills a kitten.

 

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crazy-legs replied to peted76 | 6 years ago
2 likes
peted76 wrote:

Mercx cheated fact, he's a hero.

Lance Cheated fact, he's lord Voldemort, but is invited speak at Flanders (maybe the Belgiums are just more forgiving).

Pantani cheated, died and is now a tragic/flawed hero.

Simpson cheated, died and is now a tragic hero, "one of the most successful British cyclists of all time".

Ullrich cheated but hasn't yet died so he's just sort of sidelined, forgotten, ignored. Thankfully he had the good grace to participate at the same time as Voldemort so he's actually sort of an angel by comparison, the heartwarming underdog. Maybe more drugs and less cake in the off-season and he'd have done better.

The hypocrisy and double standards is annoying. I actually quite like Lance, his podcasts can be quite funny and he was always a good rider to watch. There's no denying that most of those Tours were entertaining.

 

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ErnieC | 6 years ago
0 likes

Is he the guy that used to date Cheryl Crow?

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beezus fufoon replied to ErnieC | 6 years ago
1 like
ErnieC wrote:

Is he the guy that used to date Cheryl Crow?

nah, he's the guy that used to be Cheryl Crow.

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crazy-legs | 6 years ago
3 likes

You'll find out soon that Richard Virenque is a popular commentator on French TV for the Tour.

Or that Bjarne Riis runs a World Tour team...

I can only imagine the outraged news articles then!

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don simon fbpe | 6 years ago
0 likes

Chris who?

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Jackson | 6 years ago
5 likes

I hope we get a pearl-clutching piece like this when you find out what Eddy Merckx, popped 3 more times than Lance was, gets up to every July for the past 20 or so years. 

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BehindTheBikesheds replied to Jackson | 6 years ago
4 likes
Jackson wrote:

I hope we get a pearl-clutching piece like this when you find out what Eddy Merckx, popped 3 more times than Lance was, gets up to every July for the past 20 or so years. 

+1 EM the biggest dope cheat in living memory (for most of us), the hypocrisy and double standards shown by cycling fans, administrators and everywhere else makes me want to puke.
I called out Armstrong years ago, not long after coming back from the cancer, to be able to come back like he did and then move to the top of the pile I knew would take a lot of coconut juice. But ffs everyone had been on it,, just some did it better than others, some were more talented to begin with.
If people look back at the likes of 'big mig' and think that someone not far short of the size of Kittel was not just coping in the mountains but actually able to come back from a big deficit on a climb against outright climbers without any assistance they must be on crack or purely in denial. Moser admitted to doping massively only after being exposed, the list of big name cheats is endless yet only Armstrong is castigated and totles stripped.

And now we have stupid bandwagon nobbers on here still piling in, fuck off silly cunts!

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Twowheelsaregreat | 6 years ago
0 likes

Who's this showing up at Tour of Flanders? Chris Froome? 

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handlebarcam | 6 years ago
4 likes

Poor old Lance. Once the most winningest ever Tour de France rider, now no longer. Once the greatest ever American rider, now that's reverted to Greg LeMond. Once the most doubted leader of the most suspiciously-dominant team, now that's Chris Froome and Sky. Once the vilest living American, or at least that country's most notorious liar, now that's Trump, on both counts. Now he's reduced to speaking gigs on the Friday before a race he rarely bothered with as a rider, probably in a half-built beer tent in a damp Belgian car park.

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Leviathan replied to handlebarcam | 6 years ago
2 likes
handlebarcam wrote:

Once the most doubted leader of the most suspiciously-dominant team, now that's Chris Froome and Sky. 

Ah, come on now. Chris has years of lying to do to catch Lance.

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