Lance Armstrong attracts 200 riders to Auckland event – Bike Magazine Australia

Lance Armstrong was joined by around 200 amateur cyclists in Auckland on Tuesday morning as they shrugged off past scandals to ride with the disgraced former Tour de France champion.

The American, who was banned from all sports in 2012 after doping for many years, is in New Zealand to film a commercial for a beer company and went on Twitter to invite locals to a ride around the waterfront.

However, many reacted with fury on social media and refused to take part in the event due to Armstrong’s controversial career.

The 45-year-old admitted that by being a drug cheat he had let down cycling fans.

“There’s a lot of hurt feelings, and really the word is betrayal,” Armstrong said.

“Showing up here isn’t going to make that go away. I’m 45 years old, and they’ll still be talking about it when I’m 90.”

Armstrong, who had his seven Tour de France titles stripped due to his doping, revealed he is keen to meet former Motorola team-mate Stephen Swart while he is in New Zealand.

Kiwi Swart was one of the first riders to go public with drug-taking accusations against Armstrong – and also accused the American of paying him a $50,000 bung in order to deliberately lose a race.

However, Armstrong admitted that Swart may not want to meet and said: “I’d like to, but everyone’s in their own place in this process, so that’s not my choice.”