Lance Armstrong says he’s not making “a statement” by returning to his bicycle for his first public ride since the doping scandal that stripped the beleaguered cyclist of his seven Tour de France titles.
“To be honest it’s not a statement, it’s not an experiment,” Armstrong tells the Des Moines Register. “It’s just me wanting to go ride my bike with what in the past has been a friendly group of people that share the same interests.”
Armstrong and a team from his Austin, Tex. bicycle shop, Mellow Johnny’s, will join The Register’s Annual Great Bicycle Ride Across Iowa for the fifth time later in July. The retired cycling great participated in the event for the first time in 2006 at the urging of a group of fellow cancer-stricken cyclists.
Armstrong stepped down from his position at the Livestrong Foundation in 2012, issuing an apology before giving a teary televised confession of his years of doping to Oprah Winfrey on “Oprah’s Next Chapter.” He was subsequently stripped of his Tour de France titles and Olympic bronze medal, but not before being dropped by multiple sponsors.