Many sports fans forgive their favorite stars when they deal with brushes with the law and situations of immorality. But in the case of Lance Armstrong and his infamous doping scandal in 2012, many people aren’t willing to forgive and forget so easily. The disgraced, former professional bicyclist returned to the Tour de France on July 16th and 17th to raise money for charity. Armstrong was invited by English football player, Geoff Thomas, to help raise £1milllion for Cure Leukaemia. Judging from the reactions from the media and other bicyclists, not many people were thrilled to have him in attendance.
Between 1999 and 2005, 43-year-old Armstrong won seven consecutive Tour de France titles. After winning the first title, he was accused of using performance-enhancing drugs to help him win races. In 2012, an investigation showed that Armstrong did in fact use these drugs throughout his career. He did not contest the charges, and was ultimately banned from the sport. His Tour de France titles were stripped from him. While he did confess that some of the allegations were true in a 2013 interview, he did not divulge much about his usage of banned substances. The doping scandal cost him his career, endorsements and the respect of millions of fans.
On Thursday, the 16th, Armstrong stepped off a bus in the French town of Muret surrounded by journalists. No fans were present. Riders at the recent event criticized Armstrong for stealing the limelight. This charity event’s purpose was to raise money for leukemia research to develop new drugs and transplant treatments for blood cancer patients. Armstrong’s presence distracted many from the event’s purpose.
Despite the negativity, Armstrong was shown some love by French bystanders who applauded when he stopped for lunch at a restaurant in the French city of Villefranche-d’Albigeois. Armstrong rode with two women and nine men. He understands that many fans were upset over the doping scandal, and expected strong emotions as he returned to the sport he loves. Despite the negative reactions he received, he enjoyed being given the chance to ride again and is very passionate about the cause.
The bicycle accident lawyers of Nadrich & Cohen, LLP are bicycle enthusiasts. We enjoy the sport of cycling, both as participants and spectators. Please check this blog regularly for the latest updates in California cycling laws and the latest international cycling news.