Disgraced cyclist Lance Armstrong has been recruited by former England footballer Geoff Thomas to take part in a charity cycle ride, along this year’s Tour de France route, according to the Daily Mail.
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Thomas, who like Armstrong has overcome an aggressive form of cancer, is riding the entire route of this year’s Tour a day ahead of the peloton, to raise money for his leukaemia charity, and enlisted the help of the seven time champion to join him on a couple of stages. That is despite the Texan being seemingly banished from the world of professional cycling, and even the Livestrong Foundation, a charity that Armstrong founded.
Armstrong was stripped of all his titles in 2012, after the US Anti-Doping Agency revealed that he had used performance enhancer EPO throughout his seemingly fairytale career. His subsequent admission of guilt to chat-show host Oprah Winfrey did little to appease those infuriated by his lies. But Thomas have offered him an olive branch after a couple of years in the wilderness.
After travelling to the 43-year-old’s home state, Thomas revealed that he had to do some persuading to get Armstrong to agree, but when he actually asked the former US Postal rider, he responded, “Of course I will, I have to say I’m humbled you’ve made the effort to come all this way.”
The ex-Crystal Palace midfielder is expecting some criticism for his efforts to bring back Armstrong back into the public light, but he was quick to justify the decision.
“As a sportsman I was angry that it was all a lie. Doping is wrong. But in the context of the illness, and the connection I had as someone who had also survived cancer, the sport was kind of irrelevant,” he explained.