Is this a little weird or what? Lance Armstrong, the lion of the Tour de France, certainly sounds more like the lamb as he worries about getting physically attacked during the Tour. To the Times Online:
Lance Armstrong has given the broadest indication yet that he will try to win an eighth Tour de France next summer, but he has also expressed his fear that he could be the victim of physical assaults by spectators if he does.
The American, 37, whose Astana team are seeking talks with Tour officials before confirming his return to the sport’s blue riband event, said: “There are some aggressive, angry emotions. If you believe what you read, my personal safety could be in jeopardy.
“Cycling is a sport of the open road and spectators are lining that road. I try to believe that people, even if they don’t like me, will let the race unfold.”
French media, fans, and experts accuse LA of doping, accusations that reach emotions deep down in France. Would these emotions really lead to a Tour fan confronting Armstrong? Assaulting Armstrong? Or is there something amiss here? Overblown concern?
Asked if he feared being attacked, Armstrong said: “Yeah. There are directors of French teams that have encouraged people to take to the streets . . . elbow to elbow. It’s very emotional and tense.”
Armstrong continues in a dramatic way:
“...The level of scrutiny I’ve had throughout my career from the press and anti-doping authorities is unmatched,” he said.
“I’m not afraid of anything. I’ve got nothing to hide. There are no secrets. To the critics, I would say, believe it or not, there are exceptional athletes out there: Michael Phelps, Paula Radcliffe . . .”
Armstrong has said that when he returns he will subject himself to daily tests by an independent analyst who will post the results online.
Isn't this a bit histrionic? The most scrutinized athlete in history? More examined than Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, and Ben Johnson? One wonders if this isn't LA's huge status play -- the best ever at cycling, and the most scrutinized athlete in history, the center of the universe...