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Armstrong comeback "a masquerade"?

By:
Daniel Simms
Published:
June 04, 2009, 17:23 BST,
Updated:
June 04, 2009, 18:44 BST

LA Confidentiel writers hit out

The authors of "LA Confidentiel", a book published in 2004 alleging that Lance Armstrong used performance-enhancing substances, have hit out at Armstrong once again. In their latest book, "Le Sale Tour" ["The dirty Tour"], Pierre Ballester and David Walsh write about the return to competition of the seven-time Tour de France winner and his apparent ambition to enter US politics.

The former journalist of L'Equipe and his colleague working for The Sunday Times allege that Armstrong's comeback to the sport after three years of absence is not to promote his Livestrong foundation against cancer, but that his real reasons for it are those of a businessman. According to Ballester and Walsh, Armstrong, after unsuccessfully bidding for shares of the company holding the Tour de France, came back to cycling to increase his personal wealth.

"Since last summer, his [non-profit] Livestrong foundation has a lucrative segment," said Ballester. "And when Armstrong receives 200,000 Euro to host a conference, he puts it into his pocket - unlike the leading cancer experts, who will donate the money."

The authors also claim that Armstrong has a political objective: become the governor of Texas in 2014. In the second half of the Book, Walsh and Ballester ask sports politicians about Armstrong's return, with former French sports secretary Jean-François Lamour saying, "This comeback is not a very good sign. It's even a kind of a masquerade."

Moreover, Ballester accused the organisers of the Tour de France, ASO, to privilege their business over the sports aspect at the Grande Boucle. "ASO's new strategy is more turned towards business than the credibility of the sport," said Walsh. "In allowing Armstrong to come back to the Tour, will be coming back also the ghosts of the past: doping, scheming, bribery... They must have weighed pros and cons, more important and less important, and decided in favour of Armstrong's return."

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