Shamed cyclist Lance Armstrong will begin trying to rehabilitate his image later this month in the 406-mile Register's Annual Great Bicycle Ride Across Iowa, the cyclist told the Des Moines Register last week.
The Register said the event would be Armstrong's first big public appearance
since admitting he used performance-enhancing drugs for years, including during his record seven Tour de France victories. He made the admission to Oprah Winfrey
during a lengthy interview back in January.
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Armstrong has since been stripped of all of his Tour de France titles and he is facing numerous lawsuits over his past denials of using performance-enhancing drugs.
Armstrong told the Des Moines Register that he did not see his participation in the event as anything more than a chance to get on his bike again with other cyclists.
"To be honest it’s not a statement, it’s not an experiment," Armstrong told the Des Moines Register from Aspen, Colo., during an interview. "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 told the newspaper he would arrive for the cycling event July 20 in Council Bluffs, Iowa, and stay "three or four days." The cycling event, which runs from July 21-27, is one of the world’s oldest and largest bicycle touring events, according to the Des Moines Register.
The Iowa event's director T.J. Juskiewicz told the Register that Armstrong would be no different than the 10,000 other bicyclists participating in the event.
"They have a great time here, and they want to return," Juskiewicz said. "We are open to anyone that wants to come ride RAGBRAI. Who knows, we might get TMZ covering RAGBRAI this year."
Armstrong had earlier angered some riders at this year's Tour de France when he was quoted in the French tabloid LeMonde that cyclists could not win the race without using performance-enhancing drugs
"It is impossible to win the Tour de France without doping because the Tour is an endurance test, where oxygen is crucial," Armstrong told LeMonde. "Just to give you one example – EPO (the blood booster erythropoietin) won’t help a sprinter win the 100 meters, but it will make all the difference for a runner doing the 10,000 meters. It’s obvious."
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