Tuesday, July 7, 2009
Armstrong says he was disrespectful
MONTPELLIER, France -- Lance Armstrong said he was wrong and disrespectful when he called last year's Tour de France a "bit of a joke."
In the new book, "Lance -- The Making of the World's Greatest Champion" by John Wilcockson, Armstrong is said to have recounted his early musings about a possible comeback after the 2008 Tour, won by Carlos Sastre.
"The Tour was a bit of a joke this year. I've got nothing against Sastre ... or Christian Vande Velde," he was quoted as saying shortly after the race last year. "Christian's a nice guy, but finishing fifth in the Tour de France? Come on!"
Returning to the Tour four years after retiring, Armstrong acknowledged he went too far and was presumptuous at that time, thinking that his comeback would be easier.
"Twelve months ago, I expected that ... and this is a confession, I expected it to be easier," Armstrong said after winning Tuesday's Tour de France team time trial with his Astana colleagues, moving up to second place overall in the Tour.
"And as it has been reported in the press ... I was disrespectful to Carlos Sastre, Christian Vande Velde -- the guys who were a presence in last year's Tour, and that was not correct," Armstrong added.
American Vande Velde and Spaniard Sastre are competing in this year's Tour. Sastre reacted last week to Armstrong's comments, saying that the seven-time Tour winner should learn how to respect people.