International Cycling Union President Brian Cookson says it would be “completely disrespectful” to current riders if disgraced cyclist Lance Armstrong rode the Tour de France route for charity a day before the race.
Even though Cookson said Armstrong “would be well-advised not to take part” in the race, the UCI has no authority from stopping Armstrong from participating in former England soccer player Geoff Thomas’ Cure Leukaemia charity ride.
“I’m sure that Geoff Thomas means well, but frankly I think that’s completely inappropriate and disrespectful to the Tour, disrespectful to the current riders, and disrespectful to the UCI and the anti-doping community,” said Cookson, according to the Guardian.
The U.S. Anti-Doping Agency, who banned Armstrong for life in 2012, has no objection to his charity ride plans.
Armstrong was stripped of all seven of his Tour de France victories in 2012 after USADA issued a report saying Armstrong and his US Postal Service Pro Cycling teammates “ran the most sophisticated, professionalized and successful doping program that sport has ever seen.”
“I’m not critical of people trying to raise funds for charity, let’s be clear. But I think maybe Lance could find a better way of continuing his fundraising efforts than this, Cookson said. “Lance Armstrong can ride his bike around France as often as he likes, it’s got nothing to do with me or the UCI.”
Cookson was asked if he won’t cheer for Armstrong’s ride for charity.
“I think you can make that assumption,” he said.
- Scooby Axson