Jean-Marie Leblanc, former director of the Tour de France, is worried about the side-effects of Lance Armstrong's return on professional cycling. "We former riders generally have respect for winners, but that's not always the case with the public and above all the media who have heavy suspicions about you," he said in an editorial in Velo Star.
"The hounds will be let loose, column inches will be written, images repeated and debate sparked about the one word which has petrified our passion over the past ten years: doping."
He also questioned the American's motives in returning to racing. He asked, "It seems that you want to collect funds for your foundation into cancer research. That's a laudable intention of course, but was it necessary to get out your jersey and racing shorts given the revenue your conferences make in the United States?"
"They're also saying you haven't been overly impressed with the victories of your former rivals - [Oscar] Pereiro, [Alberto] Contador and [Carlos] Sastre - and that at 37 the challenge doesn't seem insurmountable; and that is something we can understand."
Armstrong, 37, announced his return to cycling on September 9. His comeback will follow on three and a half years of minimal racing. (SW)
Cyclingnews' recent coverage of Lance Armstrong's comeback
January 18, 2009 - Armstrong announces start of Catlin's drug testing programme
January 8, 2009 - Armstrong impresses Carmichael prior to Tour Down Under
January 7, 2009 - Armstrong believes Team Astana can dominate Tour
December 10, 2008 - Merckx: Armstrong's return good for cycling and Giro
December 8, 2008 - Armstrong climbs Teide
December 6, 2008 - Rast on life with Armstrong
December 5, 2008 - Armstrong considers Tour of Ireland
December 5, 2008 - Armstrong: Contador is the best
December 4, 2008 - Horner unites with Armstrong despite past differences
December 3, 2008 - Armstrong and Contador ride separate paths towards Tour
December 2, 2008 - Armstrong surfs with Astana
December 2, 2008 - Armstrong plans to race Tour
December 1, 2008 - Armstrong's anti-doping testing program pending
November 23, 2008 - Media out of love with Armstrong?
November 22, 2008 - Andreu caught up in Armstrong fight again
November 19, 2008 - Armstrong concerned about Tour safety
November 17, 2008 - Armstrong to meet with ASO
November 9, 2008 - Armstrong racing in Texas again
November 7, 2008 - Exclusive Armstrong wind tunnel video
November 7, 2008 - Lance Armstrong speaks at Web 2.0 conference
November 6, 2008 - Carmichael dials in Armstrong's comeback training
November 5, 2008 - Armstrong looking for balance
November 5, 2008 - Photos from Armstrong's wind tunnel test
November 3, 2008 - Armstrong doubles up and heads to wind tunnel