LANCE ARMSTRONG REACTION — RAGBRAI director T.J. Juskiewicz said reaction to news last week that Lance Armstrong will ride a portion of this year’s event has included anger, support and long-distance calls from Ireland.
Juskiewicz estimated he has fielded about 100 emails, calls or general inquiries about Armstrong — the sports and cancer-awareness icon who had seven Tour de France titles stripped amid his confessions of doping.
Those who’ve contacted Juskiewicz include some calling the decision “a disgrace,” while others support Armstrong’s request to pedal across a chunk of the state. He said reaction is running about 70 percent to 30 percent behind the Lance-in-Iowa idea.
Then again, which state is it?
Britain’s Daily Mail newspaper explained that Armstrong would join in the “Idaho” bike ride.
Juskiewicz said Armstrong plans to ride the first three days of RAGBRAI, which starts July 21.
The decision to allow Armstrong into the event for free has allowed an opportunity for the director of the event to have some fun.
“We have a standing rule that all Tour de France champions are comped,” said Juskiewicz, who said he was interviewed by Irish radio and contacted by CNN, among others.
What if the titles are stripped?
“Then Rule B applies — all people who have appeared in ‘Dodgeball’ with speaking roles are comped,” he said. “That means Vince Vaughn and Ben Stiller can ride for free, too.”
Personally, I’m fine with it. It’s a ride, not a race.
Am I frustrated at how Armstrong bullied and tried to discredit journalists who rightfully chased the story? Sure. But this isn’t the Olympic Trials or a sanctioned competition.
More importantly, back to “DodgeBall” …