DES MOINES — Cyclist Lance Armstrong says fellow riders have been generally supportive of him this week during an annual bike ride across Iowa.

Armstrong is participating in part of the weeklong event known as RAGBRAI, a ride that starts at the Missouri River in western Iowa and ends at the Mississippi River. It's the first extended public appearance on a bike since he ended years of denials in January and admitting he doped to win seven Tour de France titles that have since been stripped.

Armstrong told the Des Moines Register, which sponsors RAGBRAI, that riding in the event allows him to stay connected with the sport he loves. It's his fifth RAGBRAI, and he said the support he's received in years past played a role in his decision to return.

"I've been here before, and I know what the people of the state are like, and I know what the riders of RAGBRAI are like," Armstrong told the newspaper. "I didn't expect a wave of hostility."

Part of the fallout from Armstrong's admission was his resignation from the board of the cancer-fighting charity Livestrong Foundation, which he founded in 1997 after beating cancer himself. Armstrong defended Livestrong, calling it a "first-class organization."

"I think the foundation does great work, regardless of what anybody says," he said. "What Lance Armstrong did on a bike 15 years ago has nothing to do with the great work that organization is doing in 2013. If anybody questions that, I think it's awfully unfortunate."

Armstrong planned to ride through Tuesday, when the event stops in Des Moines, before returning home to his family and an uncertain future.

"The thing that's the most important is what happens to my children five years from now," Armstrong said. "I've got to help myself, my family and my five kids navigate an interesting time."

I'm the city editor at the Quad-City Times. You can reach me at dbowerman@qctimes.com or 563-383-2450.

(4) comments

Orpheus

The problem wasn't the PEDs. Almost EVERY SINGLE RIDER was taking them. The problem was a personal vendetta again Armstrong, because he acted like nothing short of a pompous jerk who taunted the board saying they could never find anything on him. Well, they found it and both sides were wrong in this.

Al Taggart
Al Taggart

Ignore him and he'll go away.

snowman05

One of the worst frauds in sports.

The guy did everything dirty. It's a shame that the good his foundation has done and could have done was used by him to exploit himself.

I do not feel sorry for him. He is a wealthy man for being a huge fraud. Not the first to do so, not the last, but he is the poster child.

Klaatu
Klaatu

His problems are self inflicted, but having said that I disagree with the ruling body having an unlimited amount of time to go back and disqualify a rider. It would be the equivalent of the sanctioning body pulling the winning car out of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway museum ten years after the fact and disqualifying it for a technical violation. I think they should have a brief time to do their tests, and then that is it. No spending years concocting new tests and technology to erase results.

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