Banned former rider Lance Armstrong says during interview with Rouleur magazine that he has been motorpacing BMC's Tejay van Garderen. Photos by Jakob Kristian Sørensen
Armstrong revealed his role in van Garderen’s race preparations during an interview with Rouleur magazine #51, published today (Friday).
Armstrong spoke to Danish journalist Morten Okbo at his home in Aspen, Colorado, where Okbo spent three days with the Texan along with photographer Jakob Kristian Sørensen.
During a car journey to a restaurant, Armstrong spoke to his partner Anna Hansen on the phone, saying “Hi, baby. Yeah. I’m with the Danes now. They’re dressed like the Blues Brothers, man! Crazy shit. What? No. I just motor-paced Tejay for an hour. My ass is about to fall off.”
Armstrong is currently serving a lifetime ban from competition after admitting to doping during all of his seven Tour de France victories, which were all subsequently stripped from him. The ban extends to all sports and USA Cycling sanctioned events outside of racing. He was blocked from riding in George Hincapie’s Gran Fondo in October.
Now, though, it appears that he is playing a role in assisting a rider in a new generation of American Grand Tour contenders. Armstrong has a connection with van Garderen’s BMC Racing team in life-long friend Jim Ochowicz, the squad’s manager. Armstrong’s role in assisting with van Garderen’s training will undoubtedly raise some eyebrows.
Despite his continuing involvement with parts of the sport, Armstrong did not hold back in his scorn for professional cycling and how he has been treated, which he feels is unfair in comparison to some of his peers who have also been found guilty of doping.
“The sport is so weak,” Armstrong said of professional cycling. “Just fundamentally weak. From the unity standpoint. From a rider’s standpoint. The teams. They have no authority. No power. So when you have a shit show like we’ve seen with me, someone from the outside can just step in, go back 12 years in time, and royally screw a sport and a new generation that deserves none of this. Cycling and its hypocrisy is off the charts.”
Armstrong did admit that he has regrets over being “aggressive” during his career, and the lengths that he went to to cover up and deny his doping, a cover-up which he said became “bigger than the races”.
Okbo asked him whether he would make different decisions in his career if he could go back and start again.
“Making the decision to dope? Well, we all made that decision,” said Armstrong. “Once we realised – this was when we arrived in Europe and got our asses kicked – that we had brought knives to a gun-fight, we all went out and got guns. So virtually everybody in the business made that decision.
“My set of options was to go back to the US and work in a bike shop. Well, I didn’t take that option. So this was the times of the sport. But don’t f**king over-apologise about it. Everyone is now going; ‘oh, I’m so sorry…’ I can’t take that narrative and run with it.”