Will Lance replace Didi as Tour devil?
Dieter ‘Didi The Devil’ Senft has been a constant presence at the Tour de France. However, at age 62 and suffering from poor health, Senft plans to retire.
Suddenly faced with the prospect of no Tour devil, disgraced former seven time Tour winner Lance Armstrong has apparently offered to take over Didi The Devil’s trident, red cape and scary growl.
A report in the Austin Tribune newspaper claims that ex-Boss of the peloton may become the Devil of the peloton. The universally reviled Armstrong, already seen as the devil by many pro cycling fans, is ready to take up the role.
“Lance wanted to stay in cycling somehow and since he’s banned for life, there really isn’t a place for him,” said Chuck Fakester, a media advisor for Armstrong. The United States Doping Agency and the UCI have no jurisdiction over the Devil. That’s the whole point — he’s the devil and does whatever he wants. Travis Tygart has no power over the devil.”
The prospect of seeing Armstrong in a devil outfit along the roads of France in July already has Tour de France officials worried. “This is bizarre and unprecedented,”said Christian Prudhomme, general manager of the Tour de France. “Are we to think this is some kind of sick joke? I have to say this is a sacre bordel.”
At least one source close to Armstrong has said the Texan has already been sketching his own ideas for a Devil outfit. There are also plans for a mobile flaming cauldron and several actors who will portray lost souls wailing by the road side.
“Lance thinks big. If he’s going to be a devil, he’s gonna be the best devil you’ve every seen,” said Adrian Millet, a theater director in Austin and a drama consultant for what some are calling Devil 2.0, the Comeback. “The Lance devil is going to boost Tour TV ratings worldwide. If you think Lance had a big impact on the bike, wait till he’s menacing riders with Hell and damnation. This is going to be awesome.”
What’s more, the Armstrong camp believes that bringing Armstrong back to the Tour in any capacity will put him back in the public eye. “Lance is a showman and the Tour has always been his stage. Really, the Tour could use some personality,” said agent Steve Herter. “We’re really talking about irony and playing with that symbolism? Is Lance really the devil as everybody has made him out to be? No, of course not. By putting him in the costume, we reframe the dialogue.”
A spokesperson for the USADA was quick to resound to the Armstrong devil plans. “There is at present no legal prescient for preventing Armstrong from playing the role of the devil at the Tour de France, said Jennifer Gigle. “However, we strongly urge him to instead come to Colorado Springs and make a full and complete confession.”
As usual, Armstrong intends to have the last word. “I was part of a complicated generation, who inherited the habits of the previous generation. There has never an investigation into what they did … But that’s life, the world of sport is sometimes surprising.”
The biggest surprise? Armstrong returning to the Tour de France as the devil himself.