Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

THE INTERVIEW

Exclusive: Israel's US ambassador speaks to FRANCE 24

Read more

#THE 51%

World War One: The war that changed women’s lives

Read more

FRANCE IN FOCUS

Ségolène Royal goes for green

Read more

THE OBSERVERS

A look back at some of the Observers' best stories

Read more

DEBATE

Argentina Defaults: Kirchner Cries Foul Over 'Vulture Funds' (part 2)

Read more

DEBATE

Argentina Defaults: Kirchner Cries Foul Over 'Vulture Funds'

Read more

AFRICA NEWS

Ebola death toll tops 700

Read more

AFRICA NEWS

Dozens of youths trampled to death on Conakry beach

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

Renault's women drivers ad deemed sexist

Read more

  • Exclusive: Israel's US ambassador speaks to FRANCE 24

    Read more

  • Live: Israeli soldier feared captured, ceasefire 'over'

    Read more

  • Ugandan court strikes down anti-gay legislation

    Read more

  • Regional summit to tackle deadly Ebola outbreak

    Read more

  • French hospital to open wine bar for terminally ill patients

    Read more

  • €2.5 million in cocaine ‘disappears’ from Paris police HQ

    Read more

  • Appeal court keeps French rogue trader Kerviel in jail

    Read more

  • Air France ground workers to strike on August 2

    Read more

  • Interactive: France’s new plan to counter jihadism in Africa

    Read more

  • Ukrainian army suffers losses in separatist attack

    Read more

  • Dozens killed and injured in Taiwan gas blast

    Read more

  • Argentinian markets plummet following default

    Read more

  • French Jews speak of growing fear in Paris amid Gaza conflict

    Read more

  • Video: Inside Hamas ‘terror’ tunnels in Gaza

    Read more

  • Sierra Leone declares state of emergency over spread of Ebola

    Read more

Armstrong fears attack on Tour de France comeback

Video by FRANCE 24

Text by AFP

Latest update : 2008-11-19

Seven-time Tour winner, Lance Armstrong, who announced his return to the race in 2009, said in an interview with British newspaper The Guardian that he feared crowd aggressiveness over suspicion of doping that tarnished the race's image.

Lance Armstrong has revealed that he fears being attacked by spectators when he makes his return to the Tour de France next year.
  
The American, a seven-times winner of the Tour, believes he could be targeted by French fans angry that doping allegations surrounding him have helped to destroy the credibility and the magic of cycling's most famous race.
  
In an interview with The Guardian newspaper, Armstrong said: "I don't want to enter an unsafe situation but you see this stuff coming out of France.
  
"There're some aggressive, angry emotions. If you believe what you read my personal safety could be in jeopardy. Cycling is a sport of the open road and spectators are lining that road. I try to believe that people, even if they don't like me, will let the race unfold."
  
Asked if that meant he feared an attack on next year's tour, Armstrong responded: "Yeah. There're directors of French teams that have encouraged people to take to the streets ... elbow to elbow. It's very emotional and tense."
  
Armstrong won seven Tour titles between 1999 and 2005 but that extraordinary achievement by a survivor of testicular cancer has been tainted by unsubstantiated claims that it was done with the help of performance enhancing drugs.
  
French sports daily L'Equipe reported in 2005 that six samples of Armstrong's urine from the 1999 tour had revealed traces of the blood-boosting drug EPO following retrospective testing.
  
An investigation ordered by the International Cycling Union (UCI) subsequently concluded that the testing of the samples in question had not been conducted correctly and that the results could not be regarded as reliable evidence.
  
Armstrong reiterated to the Guardian that he had declined an offer from France's anti-doping agency to have the samples formally re-tested as an act of good faith because he could not be sure they had not been contaminated.
  
The American, now 37, went on to insist that insist that all seven of his titles were the result of hard work rather than doping.
  
"I understand people in France and in cycling might have that perception but the reality is that there's nothing there," Armstrong said.
  
"The level of scrutiny I've had throughout my career from the press and the anti-doping authorities is unmatched. I'm not afraid of anything. I've got nothing to hide."
  
Armstrong also claimed to be fitter now, at the age of 37, than he was in the early stages of the build-up to any of his successful tours.
  
"And mentally there is no comparison," he added. "I'm far stronger and more motivated. The motivation of 2008 feels like the motivation of 1999. I was back from cancer then. I had the motivation of vengeance because nobody wanted me or believed in me."
  
Despite that bullish assessment, Armstrong also admits to having "anxiety and insecurity about being 37."
  
"Let's not forget I'm the oldest tour winner in modern cycling history and that was four years ago. But that nervousness makes me work even harder. We're doing a training camp in December in Tenerife and another in California with big climbs. Normally I wouldn't smell a mountain until February so I'm starting early."

Date created : 2008-11-19

COMMENT(S)