PARIS (AFP) — In a new book celebrating this summer’s 100th Tour de France, former Tour director Jean-Marie Leblanc compares disgraced former champion Lance Armstrong to white-collar criminal Bernie Madoff.
In the French book Le Tour, 100 images, 100 histoires, Leblanc writes that Armstrong’s “long scam” betrayed the public, the media, and the sport of cycling, drawing a parallel between the former Tour winner and the American crook responsible for the biggest financial fraud in history, who was sentenced to 150 years in prison.
Leblanc, the only man to have covered the Tour as a reporter and then directed the race, (from 1989 to 2006), is one of four specialists who comment in the book of photos from Agency France-Presse; the others are writer-journalist Eric Fottorino, journalist-historian Jean-Paul Ollivier, and former Tour champion Bernard Thevenet, winner of the Tour in 1975 and 1977.
“Armstrong cheated the Tour de France, the public, the media, all those who believed in the value of his performance and, even worse, he betrayed his sport,” wrote Leblanc.
Of Armstrong’s concessions to doping earlier this year, Leblanc wrote that they lacked “any desirable accuracy.”
“Prepared by lawyers, (Armstrong’s confession) felt scheming and calculated,” Leblanc wrote. “In the field of sport, Lance Armstrong’s long scam makes him the Bernard Madoff of sport.”