PARIS — Lance Armstrong has shown again he doesn't know how to say he's sorry (in any language), and clearly doesn't know when he's not bienvenu. The "welcome" has indeed been overwhelmingly nasty and negative for a much-hyped ride just two years after reluctantly admitting to doping, and stripped of his record seven Tour de France titles.
The disgraced American cyclist returned Thursday to the French roads riding along a Tour de France route — ahead of the official riders — for a two-day charity event against leukemia. He had ignored cycling officials' pleas to not be "disrespectful" (again) toward cyling's premier event, and also took a swipe at the current leader of the month-long race, insinuating that he too might be skirting doping rules.
French fans made it clear on social media what they thought of the Tour return. Here are 10 (mostly) mean tweets for Monsieur Armstrong:
Qu'est qu'il vient foutre Armstrong en France à part faire parler de lui ? # tricheur
— Rugiero Rémy (@rugiero79) July 16, 2015
What the hell is Armstrong doing in France, except getting everyone to talk about him? #cheater
— Le Monde (@lemondefr) July 16, 2015
Tour de France: Armstrong back at the "scene of the crime"
"Lance Armstrong court pour la recherche contre la leucémie"... Lance Armstrong court à la recherche de son âme perdue plutôt.
— SB (@Postcurseur_2) July 16, 2015
Lance Armstrong is riding for research against leukemia ... More like, Lance Armstrong is riding in search of his lost soul.
Armstrong also admitted Thursday he was to blame for current leader of the Tour Chris Froome having to field questions on doping, having tweeted earlier, "Too strong to be clean? Don't ask me, I have no clue," which got plenty of replies:
— Thomas SOTTO (@ThomasSotto) July 15, 2015
Giving credence to Lance Armstrong's opinion on Chris Froome is like asking the head of a funeral home for health advice, isn't it?!?
In an interview for French daily Le Parisien, former French President Nicolas Sarkozy came to the rescue of the 43-year-old Texan, saying "He's been criticized so much, he's been attacked so much ... What's the use of harassing him?"
— Le Lab (@leLab_E1) July 16, 2015
Nicolas Sarkozy defends Lance Armstrong
— Yohan (@_YoZu) July 16, 2015
Sure, let's keep giving the floor to the greatest impostor in Sports History! So shameful to have to listen to Armstrong
Chers journalistes, pouvez-vous dire à Armstrong d'aller pousser son vélo chez lui, il ne mérite pas les routes de France! #armstrongdehors
— jefrem (@jefrem1) July 16, 2015
Dear journalists, can you ask Armstrong to go ride his bike back home? He doesn't deserve the roads of France!
— Nouredine B (@Nouredine34) July 16, 2015
@lancearmstrong what the hell are you doing on a bike in France? Aren't you ashamed of coming back to a race you sullied for seven years?
— LucieChatagn (@LucieChatagn) July 16, 2015
Journalists are making a hero of Lance Armstrong, he's a cheater! I love the Tour but not this liar!
Finally, amidst all the bitterness, one French fan offered a different perspective:
Vous pouvez détester Lance Armstrong autant que vous voulez. Ça restera toujours le premier homme qui a marché sur la Lune.
— Amine Zennadi (@SynyG) December 21, 2014
You can hate Lance Armstrong as much as you want. But he'll always be the first man to walk on the Moon.