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Old 02-03-03, 12:05 AM   #1
Dutchy
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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.
LA: Right...
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]
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Old 02-03-03, 12:16 AM   #2
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Are you sure it wasn't Helen Thomas?
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Old 02-03-03, 03:09 AM   #3
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Good on you, Lance.
You're an Athlete and a Gentleman.
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Old 02-03-03, 07:44 AM   #4
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Wow, maybe the age has to do with the nutty *** man. Jk jk!
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Old 02-03-03, 08:09 AM   #5
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See, I've been saying recumbent riders are crazy for years.

Now I have empirical proof!
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Old 02-03-03, 10:18 AM   #6
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Did anyone find out who this "older gentleman" is?
Obviously he doesn't work for a cycling publication because his questions were too stupid.
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Old 02-03-03, 11:30 AM   #7
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Probably just a regular old guy with a good sense of humor having a little fun! Thanks for posting that!
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Old 02-03-03, 03:33 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally posted by RonH
Obviously he doesn't work for a cycling publication because his questions were too stupid.
I've met some people riding who had the personality of the older gentleman in the story above, but hey, I bet he was just poking a little fun at lance, and it was funny (or at least I thought so)
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Old 02-03-03, 04:18 PM   #9
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I don't think I would be able to answer those questions..I would think they were trick questions or something.
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Old 02-04-03, 03:49 AM   #10
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Cute old guy.
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Old 02-04-03, 07:27 AM   #11
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Lance was every bit the professional, but showed a poor knowledge of his sponsor's product line.
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Old 02-04-03, 10:48 AM   #12
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Trek made a recumbent for a few years, don't know if they still do.
It does seem that recumbent cyclists, similar to BMX riders, prefer bikes from specialist companies--tandem people are like this too--
who have their whole attention focused on their specialty. Except for Cannondale no big company can seem to build a tandem without ****ing something up; I'd watch Burley, who have been successful as a tandem builder for years, to see how well they can deliver to the recumbent market. Recumbent people are fun to talk to, they're kind of the conspiracy theorists of cycling! Art Bell would ride a recumbent if he were a cyclist.
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Old 02-04-03, 07:14 PM   #13
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Must have stumbled in after a wine tasting tour.
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Old 02-04-03, 07:23 PM   #14
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Thanks for giving me a chuckle after a tough day. That old guy was hilarious and clueless. We're probably related.
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Old 02-05-03, 03:32 PM   #15
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On a side note: I just ordered and watched a DVD called Road to Paris. It takes you inside Lance's training before the 2001 Tour de France. Great footage and interviews with Lance. I highly recommend it. I found that he was much more of a jokester than I thought. You definitely see a side of him you don't see in press interviews and such. Plus there is a huge interview with Bruyneel while he's following Lance on his training rides.

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