New York: Disgraced cyclist Lance Armstrong has compared himself to Voldemort, the primary antagonist in the fictional Harry Potter novels, and is resolute that he will not get a frosty reception when he rides on the Tour de France route a day before the race starts next month.
Disgraced cylist Lance Armstrong. Pic/Getty Images
Armstrong was stripped of his seven Tour de France titles and banned from all sport for life nearly three years ago for doping offences, which he denied until January 2013 when he made a shock tell-all confession with Oprah Winfrey.
Earlier this year, Armstrong told the BBC he would cheat again if he were given the chance but added he thought he should be forgiven, and he reiterated that stance in interviews with the Daily Mail and Daily Telegraph.
He likened his treatment to that of fictional character Voldemort, who derives fear from the magic community in JK Rowling's novels to the extent that hardly any character dares utter his name.
"I'm that character in Harry Potter they can't talk about," he said. "Voldemort? It's as if you can't mention him. "I'm the one everybody wants to pretend never lived. But that will not be the case for ever because it can't be the case forever. That won't work, people aren't stupid. We know what happened.
"I mean, I tried to make it right with every one of those people (who were hindered either by Armstrong's doping or denial of doing so). I can only do so much." Many, including cycling's world governing body chief Brian Cookson, have slammed the Texan for looking to ride the Tour de France route this summer for former England footballer Geoff Thomas' charity fundraising mission.
Armstrong though believes that he will not get a frosty reception. "People think I have this bitter relationship with the country, with its people," he said. "I like going there. I love France. The people are what they are, it's like any place, some people are cool, some people aren't cool.
"I could be wrong, I've been wrong plenty in my life, but I've been to France since all this happened and if you walk into a cafe or a restaurant or walk down the street that (negativity) is not the reaction I get."
Voldemort, also known as Lord Voldemort, is a antagonistic character in JK Rowling's Harry Potter series who is feared by most other characters. So much so that they refer to him as 'He who must not be named'.