“We are not asking that he dismantle his trophy room,” said Tour de France boss Christian Prudhomme. “Only that he return the seven yellow jerseys on his wall. He may keep the frames.”
The Tour boss reacted with vehement force after Armstrong tweeted a picture of himself reclining on his rec room couch admiring the seven lit and framed yellow jerseys. The United Stated Anti-doping Agency (USADA) has stripped the Texan of his seven wins and the UCI, the governing body of the sport, has ratified that decision.
“It is an affront, very simply,” said Prudhomme. “There he sits in his mansion acting as if these are his wins when he has cheated and dishonored the Tour. We demand the return of the jerseys and an end to this grotesque pretense.”
While nearly every other rider on Armstrong’s Tour de France US Postal squad has admitted to doping and witnessing Armstrong use banned substances, the seven maillot jaunes still remain on display in his Austin home.
It’s a situation that clearly disturbs Prudhomme, who has grown increasingly angry with the blackened reputation of the Tour and Armstrong’s doping from 1999 through 2005.
“He luxuriates in his castle, admiring those jerseys and drinking cheap American beer and showing them off to his golf buddies. It is an injustice piled on injustice,” said Prudhomme. “I shall ask the assistance of both USADA and the UCI in exploring legal action to take back the jerseys.”
Five time winner of the Tour de France, Bernard Hinault was also furious with Armstrong’s provocative tweet. “If he and I were on the same stage, I would push him off,” said Hinault. “It makes my blood boil and for once I find myself agreeing with Lemond. Perhaps we could push him off stage together. I know Greg would enjoy that.”
Jean Marie Leblanc, Tour boss from 1989 to 20065, offered a similarly annoyed point of view. “He fooled us all and for that I blame myself. However, we can still restore the honor of Le Tour,” said Leblanc. “There is no winner for those years, the dark years so his charade must end. The jerseys must come home and if that leaves some blank space on his wall, then I’m sure he can afford a decorator to fix that.”
Prudhomme is considering a personal trip to Austin to collect the seven Tour de France jerseys. “The timing is unfortunate because the Austin Film Festival has just ended. That would had been nice to catch some great indie movies” said Prudhomme. “Still, I could fly over, grab the jerseys and maybe take a day or two to explore the Texas Hill Country. I have been told there is a small wine region.”
Armstrong’s attorneys have yet to comment on the possible seizure of the jerseys by ASO, the organization that runs the Tour de France. However, Prudhomme has no intention of backing down no matter what their response.
“He lied, he lied to France and the world. If he wants to continue his own lie, then that is his affair But I tell you this: I will get that precious lycra back.”