Defiant Armstrong posts pic of Tour champion jerseys
Lance Armstrong has defiantly posted an internet picture of himself with the seven Tour de France winner’s jerseys that have been expunged from the history books.
The American’s victories from 1999-2005 have been annulled by cycling’s ruling body following a damning report by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency, which made allegations of systematic drug use that he refused to contest.
The 41-year-old was banned for life, has been ordered to return his prize money and also faces a $12 million lawsuit from a former sponsor.
However, Armstrong — who has never admitted any wrongdoing — made his stance clear this weekend on social networking website Twitter, where he has 3.8 million followers.
With a status reading “Back in Austin and just layin’ around…” Armstrong posted a picture of himself laying in his lounge with the seven yellow jerseys framed on the wall.
His Twitter profile used to say “7-time Tour de France champion” but now it reads “Raising my 5 kids. Fighting Cancer. Swim, bike, run and golf whenever I can.”
The picture has been retweeted almost 4,000 times, drawing a mixture of support and outrage from the online community.
“Wow, you really do display all the symptoms of someone sociopathic. I think you’d benefit from psychoanalysis,” wrote one Twitter user.
“Smug and deluded,” said another.
“Was that him laying around? or lying around?”
However, Armstrong is still a hero to some after overcoming testicular cancer to win cycling’s toughest race seven times in a row, in an era when many of the sport’s biggest names were linked with doping.
“You earned all of them!!!” wrote one Twitter user.
“Level playing field…..this is awesome!!!” said another.
Armstrong has never officially failed a drug test, but the USADA report detailed the ways in which he avoided being caught — and claimed that positive tests had been covered up.
He has raised hundreds of millions of dollars for charity through his Livestrong foundation, but has stepped down as its chairman since the USADA report came out in October.