I’m cycling’s Voldemort: Lance Armstrong


Lance Armstrong has compared himself to unspeakable Harry Potter villain Voldemort as he prepares for a $100 million (£65 million) whistleblower case he claims could ruin him.

The disgraced cyclist – striped of his even Tour de France victories in 2012 for systemic doping – claimed in an interview that he had already suffered enough, adding that the sport was “in no better place” than it was during his career.

“I’m that guy everybody wants to pretend never lived,” the former US Postal team rider Armstrong said.

“But it happened, everything happened. We know what happened. Now it’s swung so far the other way… who’s that character in Harry Potter they can’t talk about? Voldemort?

“It’s on every level. If you watch the Tour on American TV, if you read about it, it’s as if you can’t mention him.”

The 43-year-old is fighting a $100m lawsuit launched by former Postal team-mate Floyd Landis, although he remains confident of victory.

“The Postal Service commissioned studies in 2004 that showed it made $100m,”

he said. “There were years when it was making upwards of $20 million a year in new business, before we had even started to race.

“So when you start to add all these things up, here is the question: ‘Where are the damages?’”

Armstrong, who is also battling to overturn his lifetime ban, will still ride parts of this year’s Tour de France route despite calls for him to cancel his trip.

The American is supporting former England international footballer and fellow cancer survivor Geoff Thomas in a fund-raising ride.

His presence on the same roads that will see the Tour pass through days later was described as “disrespectful and inappropriate” by UCI chief Brian Cookson in March.

“But I do know that me and Geoff riding in France for this cause is the least of his problems,” he said. “If he is making public comments – and this is as strong as I’ll go – he needs to be talking about other things because this sport is not in a good place for a variety of reasons.”

Asked whether the recent Cycling Independent Reform Commission’s (CIRC) report had drawn a line under the sport’s murky past, Armstrong said it had been a wasted opportunity.

He also criticised Cookson’s record in tackling doping.

“What I hoped (CIRC) would achieve was that it would almost resemble some sort of adult conversation where we all just go: ‘All right. Stop. This is really what happened. And this is who was involved and this is the line we are going to draw in the sand and this is where we are going to move forward.’ But that didn’t happen,” the 43-year-old said.

“I came through on my end. I said I would be the first man in the door, I did it, went twice, answered every question. The thing comes out and it gets panned.

“So we haven’t had that adult conversation, I don’t think.

“I absolutely don’t think (cycling’s) in a better place.”

On Cookson, he added: “You guys can decide if he has done a good job. Plenty of people would argue he’s laid down on a lot of things.

“Whether it’s expedited TUEs (Therapeutic Use Exemptions), Astana, Cookson is not very good at taking people down.”