1987 winner backs Lance Armstrong charity ride on Tour route

PARIS (AP) The 1987 winner of the Tour de France supports Lance Armstrong riding part of this July's route to raise funds against blood cancer.

Stephen Roche says ''it's for a very good cause'' and adds ''he hasn't killed anybody.''

Former English soccer player Geoff Thomas invited Armstrong on the unofficial charity ride. To raise $1.5 million, Thomas plans to ride on the Tour route a day before the professional peloton.

Armstrong said he was ''honored and humbled'' to take part for a couple of days. The head of world cycling, UCI President Brian Cookson, called Armstrong's participation ''ill-advised'' and ''disrespectful to the Tour de France.'' Armstrong is banned for life from organized sports for doping.

Roche says ''it's a charity event. There will be no podium.''

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