Armstrong plays down talk of Tour de France purchase bid
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Saturday, January 15, 2011

Armstrong plays down talk of Tour de France purchase bid

by VeloNation Press at 9:18 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling
Says that he doesn’t lose sleep over federal investigation, admits expecting to win another Tour

Lance ArmstrongLinked to an attempt to buy the Tour de France prior to his comeback in 2009, Lance Armstrong has played down the significance of the approach to ASO, saying that it would be very hard to take over the world’s biggest annual sporting event.

“There was never any serious discussions. That was the irony of the story,” he insisted on Saturday, according to AFP.

Armstrong and former UCI president Hein Verbruggen were amongst those rumoured to have made an approach to ASO, but Armstrong always played down suggestions that this had been the case. He described the notion of taking over the event as a “great idea,” but said that he doubted it could be done.

"It's an expensive proposition. ASO is a family business with a few other shareholders, such as [media tycoon Arnaud] Lagardere,” he stated.

“He has, to the best of my understanding, the first right of refusal on anything the family wants to sell. I think he's interested in having a bigger stake in cycling.”

Any approach to buy sporting organisation ASO itself, the owners of the Tour, would be even more costly. “You have to consider that ASO owns a lot of properties, not just the Tour but other sporting events, a lot of media properties.”

Not losing sleep over investigation:

Right now, Armstrong is in the situation where he and others with the US Postal Service team are being investigated by federal officials including Jeff Novitzky. Opinion remains divided about what may or may not have happened on the team.

For his part, Armstrong maintains he has nothing to hide. “I never lose sleep — ever,” he told AP. “It has no effect on my life, zero. That's for other people to deal with.

"I've got five kids to raise, a foundation to lead and a sport in which I still participate and I still love. So it has no effect. “

He said that suspicion comes with the territory. “Our sport could be better organized, could be more unified and we probably need a deeper reservoir of stars, because when you only have a couple that really stand out then those — for better or worse — tend to get the bulk of the attention and the bulk of the criticism. And I suppose I've been in the crosshairs of that plenty."

Armstrong and several other big-name riders who will take part in the Santos Tour Down Under went on a group ride on Saturday morning, and it is estimated that over 10,000 people turned out. Moments like that will remain in his memory, while he is likely to remember his 2009 and 2010 Tour de France performances with less affection.

Although he was third a year and a half ago, his comeback hasn’t been in as successful as he expected. He didn’t win any UCI races and missed out on wearing the yellow jersey in 2009 by less than a second.

“I thought I'd win another Tour, I really did,” Armstrong said. “It was different than I expected — that's just the reality, I'm not going to make any excuses. I did everything I could. ... No regrets though, none at all.”


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