Comments made by Lance Armstrong in The Guardian this week sparked a negative reaction from the mainstream press on Friday. In the interview, Armstrong worried about his safety should he race the 2009 Tour de France, saying that directors of French teams had "encouraged people to take to the streets."
The statements led NY Daily News writer Nathaniel Vinton to muse, "One can't help suspect that Armstrong is using this stuff as preemptive spin to set the stage for an upcoming decision to back out of the Tour."
NBC Sports contributor Mike Celizic was less forgiving, and said Armstrong "looks like a drama queen on wheels" and called him a "narcissist" who is "clearly so consumed with his own self-importance, he thinks all of this nonsense simply has to be conveyed to a world that couldn't care less."
Even Armstrong's former teammate, Paolo Savoldelli, said before the interview was published that Armstrong "loves to stay at the centre of attention, in the limelight," but added that the American knows that he can still win. "He will be at the Giro but his objective is to win the Tour."
The criticism of the media may simply add fuel to Armstrong's fire. Astana manager Johan Bruyneel told La Dernière Heure this week, "Lance has always drawn motivation from anger and resentment. And I must say, while winning is fun, there's nothing more satisfying than winning when everyone wants you to lose."
Armstrong and his team manager Johan Bruyneel are scheduled to meet with the Tour de France organiser, the Amaury Sport Organisation, to discuss his possible start in the race next July.