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Armstrong still the Tour champion — or so he says on social media

  • By Matthew Beaudin
  • Published Jan. 8, 2013
Lance Armstrong continues to defend his stripped Tour titles on social media, including Strava.

BOULDER, Colorado (VN) — Lance Armstrong maintains his champion’s attitude — at least on Strava.

While the disgraced Tour de France champion is reported to be mulling over a confession to doping throughout his career, on Strava, a popular endurance website that logs workouts and allows users to interact with each other, Armstrong recently updated his profile bio: “According to my rivals, peers, and teammates I won the Tour de France 7 times.”

Armstrong was stripped of those seven Tour wins in late 2012 after the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency compiled a 1,000-page file on Armstrong’s performance enhancing drug use, citing several former teammates as sources.

The Union Cycliste Internationale declined to protest the report on Armstrong’s behalf, and the Tours de France from 1999 through 2005 have no official winner, though Armstrong continues to allude to being the champion of those Tours.

“Just updated my bio based on the facts,” the Texan posted on his Strava account on January 6.

Reaction on Strava was mixed.

After one critic left the comment, “I can sleep good knowing I have as many Tour de France Victories as Lance Armstrong,” Armstrong replied, “Ask Alex Zulle, Jan Ullrich, Joseba Beloki, Ivan Basso and Andreas Kloden how many Tours I have… and if that doesn’t please you then ask the 200 guys in those ‘7’ pelotons.”

Others expressed support for Armstrong, with one user writing, “Lance, I may not be a rival, peer, or teammate but I know I do not stand alone when I say you won the Tour de France 7 times.”

Armstrong’s impact on social media has been meteoric. With a few taps of a finger, he can enrage his critics and embolden his supporters. An early adopter of Twitter, Armstrong now has nearly four million followers. By comparison, he has over 9,000 followers on Strava.

This isn’t the first time since USADA issued Armstrong a lifetime ban that he’s raised eyebrows by altering his bio on a social media site.

Though he swiftly removed “seven-time Tour winner” from his Twitter bio after the UCI announced it would not contest USADA’s findings, Armstrong irritated his critics in early November by posting a snapshot of himself lounging underneath four of his seven (now-stripped) yellow jerseys, with the caption, “Back in Austin and just layin’ around.”

Armstrong also came the closest he’s come to admitting any use of performance enhancing drugs, on Twitter, when commenting on a January 1 blog post by cycling photographer Graham Watson.

In his article, Watson wrote that Armstrong “did what he had to do to win, and he clearly did it very well,” adding that, “if he cheated, he cheated the other cheats of that era, even if by doing so he also cheated an adoring public.”

Armstrong posted a link to Watson’s blog post with the comment, “It took a ‘photographer’ to ‘write’ the most balanced piece we’ve seen yet.” Armstrong made no attempt by to dispute Watson’s opinions over his “cheating.”

Armstrong’s latest remarks on social media indicate that, even if a doping admission is a consideration, he still views himself as the rightful winner of his record-setting Tour titles.

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Matthew Beaudin

Matthew Beaudin

Matthew Beaudin graduated from the University of Colorado at Boulder's journalism school in 2005 and immediately moved to Telluride, Colorado, to write and ski, though the order is fuzzy. Beaudin was the editor of the Telluride Daily Planet for five years. He now lives in Boulder, where he joined VeloNews in the spring of 2012. Music. Coffee. Bikes. His dog, Anabelle. That about sums it up. Follow him on Twitter @matthewcbeaudin.

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