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Join Date: Sep 2001
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A question for Lance (long)
Copied from Velownews.
Ever wonder how one of the world's greatest professional athletes handles some of the world's most ridiculous questioning during a press conference?
After the U.S. Postal Team's official unveiling last week in Solvang, California, Armstrong fielded questions from a roomful of media, including cycling publications, local newspapers, network TV affiliates - and an unidentified older gentleman that floored the room with quite possibly the most preposterous line of questioning Armstrong has ever faced, prompting many in the room to ask, "Who was that guy? Was he for real?"
Following are a few excerpts from the press conference, transcribed for your reading pleasure, focusing on the bizarre questions that, for a moment, seemed to possibly be leading to something - but alas, were not - and Armstrong's attempts to answer, as diplomatically as possible.
Older Gentleman: Lance, do you remember learning how to ride...a bike...when you were very little?
Lance Armstrong: Uh, yeah, I remember. [Laughter begins to fill the room]
OG: What was that like? Did you fall down? Did you have training wheels?
LA: I had training wheels, like most kids.
OG: Were you slow to pick it up, or fast to pick it up?
LA: I started riding with no training wheels after my neighbor rode with no training wheels, and she was a girl. [More laughter from the room] The first time I rode without training wheels I was lucky enough not to crash, although I thought I was going to. Nothing against girls...
Approximately fifteen minutes of standard questioning passed, until, during a momentary lull, the older gentleman struck again. This time the questioning bordered on the absurd.
OG: Um, who makes...your bike?
LA: Who makes it? Trek.
OG: Trek makes the bike, and then you have the Shimano derailleurs and parts...
LA: All that, right.
OG: Yeah, all that. You've heard of, I assume, a ‘recumbent bike' - a sit down bike?
LA: I've heard of it, but I've never tried it.
OG: Never tried it. Well, they claim to have the world record on the flats.
OG: I tried one...
LA: [interrupting] Well, one of them sits three feet off the ground and the other sits about six feet off the ground, so aerodynamically, it's far superior.
OG: Yeah. Would that type of bike be legal in the Tour de France?
LA: No, totally illegal, [fighting back a laugh] one hundred percent. If it were legal, we would have tried it by now.
OG: Well, it's got two wheels...
LA: Yeah, but you have to have a traditional geometry. They call it double triangle. We'll get you a rulebook. [At this point Armstrong allows himself a laugh] And when they pass it, believe me, we'll be on it.
OG: The thing is, I noticed when I tried it, going up hills, it was much more difficult. I slowed down, and of course the owner then told me that you have to develop the muscles, you know, if you're going to go uphill...
LA: He told you that you have to train. That's right, that's what he should have told you. [Laughter and applause from a disbelieving audience]
OG: Yeah, but I don't go very fast.
LA: Well, you gotta train!
OG: Really? Well in comparisons with the slow, average rider, they can get on the ‘regular geometry' type of bike and go up hills a certain speed, they would probably get on these recumbents and go uphill a little bit slower, where as on the flats they might go about a third faster. Anybody in here, uh, ever taken one out one of these...?
LA: Nope. But our only opinion is that when we can figure out how to use it, we'll try. We'd better talk to Trek. They may not make those. If they don't make them, then we're not riding them. [More laughter fills the room]