The disgraced former pro cyclist will ride at the UC as part of a deal he made with the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency to reduce his lifetime ban from the sport he loves.
“Everbody wants to know what I’ll be on,” Armstrong said. “I’ll be on my bike, busting my ass at the UC. What will they be on?”
Armstrong, whose seven Tour de France titles have been stripped, confessed in 2013 that he used performance-enhancing drugs while racing. Armstrong met with USADA in March, hoping to reduce the ban.
In a gesture of sympathy, USADA officials agreed that if Armstrong attended the UC and performed well, they would consider lifting the ban in 27 years so he could enter Masters 70+ races, a USADA official told Clipped In.
Underground Crit organizer Tim Fleming said he was skeptical of Armstrong doing well at the weekly group ride but is happy to have a special guest at the last UC. The ride is shutting down temporarily due to new business construction debris and cars on the course. Fleming said he would re-evaluate the course in October.
“It’s great that Lance can come out and support the Underground Crit, but I think our riders will give Lance a run for his money, and I just don’t see him proving himself to USADA…ever,” Fleming said.
Armstrong disagreed, and had a message for Fleming: “I’m sorry for you. I’m sorry you can’t dream big, and I’m sorry you don’t believe in miracles.”
USADA sources did not define the organization’s criteria of “performing well.” It is also unclear whether an official will attend the ride to monitor Armstrong’s ability to qualify for parole and a chance to race at age 70.
Franz Hammer, a 78-year-old Tucson cyclist who has raced undefeated since the South Mountain Time Trial in 2014, said he looks forward to racing at age 105 in the 70+ category against Armstrong.
“I’ll be looking to throw down the ‘Hammer’ against Lance Cheatstrong,” Hammer said, drawing a capital ‘H’ in the air with his finger. “He can dope all he wants, but I got this category on lock.”
Before responding to Hammer’s comments, Armstrong angrily stared for several moments as if he were looking at tell-all journalist David Walsh at a press conference.
“I’m going to make your life a living…f—ing…hell,” Armstrong said.
Catch all the action at the Underground Crit on Tuesday, April 7 at 6:30 p.m. More details: undergroundcrit.com
For full disclosure, guest reporter Betsy Andreu was part of Armstrong’s doping investigation. Armstrong responded: “Betsy blogs 24 hours a day about me. If that ain’t sick, what is?”