He once cast a spell over the cycling world, but now disgraced cyclist Lance Armstrong has likened himself to the arch-villain of the Harry Potter books, Lord Voldemort.
The US sports star, who finally admitted doping in a 2013 interview with Oprah Winfrey, compared himself to JK Rowling’s character after he suggested that no one in cycling’s governing body would dare acknowledge him.
The comments come after Armstrong was criticised by Union Cycliste International (UCI) president Brian Cookson over his plans to ride the Tour de France route a day before the race for charity.
“I’m that character in Harry Potter they can’t talk about,” Armstrong 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,” Armstrong added. “I can only do so much.”
Armstrong was stripped of his seven Tour de France titles and banned from the sport for life after admitting to repeatedly using performance-enhancing drugs during his career.
He told the BBC earlier this year that if he had his time over he would “probably do it again” because doping was “completely pervasive”.
UCI president Thomas said Armstrong’s decision to join a charity bike ride just before this year’s Tour de France was “very disrespectful”. Former Crystal Palace footballer Geoff Thomas is cycling the entire route for Cure Leukaemia, and persuaded Armstrong to join him for part of the route.