Lance Armstrong: I’m Lord Voldemort

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Lance Armstrong compared himself to the “Harry Potter” nemesis Lord Voldemort, said it was “highly unlikely” his lifetime ban is reduced and said he wished he could erase a 2005 Tour de France winner’s speech, according to media at a recent interview in Colorado.

Armstrong was stripped of his record seven Tour de France titles in 2012 and his Olympic bronze medal in 2013 and banned from competition for life due to doping during his cycling career.

“I’m that guy everybody wants to pretend never lived,” Armstrong, 43, said, according to the Telegraph. “But it happened, everything happened. We know what happened. Now it’s swung so far the other way … who’s that character in Harry Potter they can’t talk about? Voldemort? It’s like that on every level. If you watch the Tour [de France] on American TV, if you read about it, it’s as if you can’t mention him.”

No cyclists were upgraded to Tour de France winners after Armstrong was stripped. The years 1999-2005 are the only years the Tour was run with no official winners since it started in 1903.

“When you look at the history books, everybody at this table knows what went on in the 1990s and 2000s, but if you see the results and you still see there’s no winners, there’s a bunch of seconds, thirds, fourths, fifths, that all just doesn’t make any sense,” Armstrong said, according to Agence France-Presse. “Ten years from now, people aren’t going to accept that.”

In 2013, Armstrong’s biggest rival during his heyday, German Jan Ullrich, said he believed Armstrong should keep the seven titles because doping was so prevalent in that era. Ullrich finished second to Armstrong in three of those seven Tours.

“If I’m not, then who is?” Armstrong said, according to the Daily Mail. “There has to be a winner.”

Armstrong also said talks with U.S. Anti-Doping Agency chief Travis Tygart were ongoing. In March, it was reported Armstrong and Tygart met for the first time in more than two years.

“Armstrong is eager to reach an agreement that would allow him to compete in top-level triathlons,” The New York Times reported in March.

Armstrong believed it’s now “highly unlikely” his lifetime ban gets reduced and doesn’t know what fresh evidence in the fight against doping that he could offer to Tygart now, according to the Telegraph.

“At this point,” Armstrong said, according to the newspaper, “after a federal investigation, a criminal investigation, a civil investigation, a federal agency, the threat of perjury and jail, an anti-doping agency threatening lifetime bans, books … we have got it all. Trust me, it’s all there.”

Then why fight the ban?

‘The ban matters for a couple of reasons,” Armstrong said, according to the Daily Mail. “Primarily for triathlon and because the world was told I was the biggest fraud in the history of sport, and I don’t think that’s true.”

Armstrong “more or less” has fallen out of love with cycling and has “no idea” who will win the Tour de France next month, he said, according to the Telegraph.

Armstrong said he had “about five things” he would “erase” if he could, including a speech on the Champs-Élysées in Paris while wearing a yellow jersey after winning his seventh Tour.

“Finally, the last thing I’ll say for the people that don’t believe in cycling, the cynics and the skeptics, I’m sorry for you,” Armstrong said then. “I’m sorry you can’t dream big, and I’m sorry you don’t believe in miracles. But this is one hell of a race. This is a great sporting event, and you should stand around and believe. You should believe in these athletes, and you should believe in these people. I’m a fan of the Tour de France for as long as I’ll live, and there are no secrets. This is a hard sporting event and hard work wins it. Vive le Tour, forever, thank you.”

In the Colorado interview, Armstrong said, ‘The speech on the Champs, I would do anything to erase,” according to the Daily Mail. “I sit through the videos when I’m giving all these depositions. There’s only one word and that’s ’embarrassing.’ It’s awful.”

Armstrong plans to return to France next month for a charity bike ride along the Tour route, before the pros race there.

“I could be wrong, I’ve been wrong plenty in my life, but I’ve been to France since all this happened and if you walk into a cafe or a restaurant or walk down the street that [negativity] is not the reaction I get,” Armstrong said, according to the Telegraph. “God forbid the reaction is positive. What happens then?”

Armstrong: Competitors know I won 7 Tour titles

Eliud Kipchoge wins Berlin Marathon; no world record

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Olympic champion Eliud Kipchoge won the Berlin Marathon but missed the world record by 35 seconds, slowed by rain and humidity.

The Kenyan clocked 2:03:32, just missing the three-year-old record of 2:02:57. Countryman Dennis Kimetto set that mark at the 2014 Berlin Marathon.

Kipchoge, who has won nine of his 10 career marathons, said Sunday marked the toughest conditions under which he has run 26.2 miles.

“My mind was to run at least a world record,” the 32-year-old said. “Next time. Tomorrow is a [new] day. … I still have a world record in my legs.”

The two other men chasing the record — Kenenisa Bekele and Wilson Kipsang — dropped out after 18 miles.

Instead, the runner-up was surprise Ethiopian Guye Adola, who ran the fastest debut marathon ever on a record-eligible course in an unofficial 2:03:46.

Adola stuck with Kipchoge until the last mile as both men trailed off Kimetto’s world-record pace.

Kenyan Gladys Cherono won the women’s race by 18 seconds in 2:00:23. It’s her second Berlin win in three years.

Many expected to see a men’s world record Sunday. Kipchoge, Bekele and Kipsang had all run within 16 seconds of the mark in the last two years but had never raced together in the German capital.

Berlin is the world’s fastest marathon. The men’s world record has been lowered six times since 2003, each time in the shadow of the Brandenburg Gate.

Kipchoge was the pre-race favorite.

On May 6, he ran 2:00:25 in Nike’s staged sub-two-hour marathon attempt on an Italian Formula One track. It was contested under special conditions that made it ineligible for record purposes with pacers entering mid-race.

Kipchoge won Berlin in 2015 in 2:04:00 despite insoles flopping out the back of his shoes the last half of the race.

Bekele and Kipsang teased the world record in a memorable Berlin duel last year, with Bekele winning six seconds shy of it.

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Yuzuru Hanyu falters as Javier Fernández wins opener

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Even Yuzuru Hanyu can struggle in September.

The Olympic and world champion singled his first jump, doubled a few more and fell in the free skate of his opening event of the Olympic season on Saturday. Video is here.

He squandered an 11.52-point lead over two-time world champion Javier Fernández from Friday’s short program at the Autumn Classic in Montreal.

Hanyu ended up 10.83 points behind Fernández overall, even though the Spaniard also fell in his free skate.

Full scores are here.

It’s a familiar feeling for Hanyu, who saw Fernández pass him in the free skate at the 2015 and 2016 Worlds.

The Japanese megastar also been known to have clunker programs at fall events in past seasons. In every one of his senior seasons, Hanyu has been beaten in one of his first two competitions.

Hanyu came to Montreal with a sore knee, which reportedly led him to take the quadruple loop out of his repertoire for one weekend.

Still, Hanyu was marvelous in the short program. His score was the second-highest under the 13-year-old judging system.

Showdowns like Hanyu-Fernández are usually reserved for, at the earliest, the Grand Prix series in late October and November. The Autumn Classic is a lower-level event.

Hanyu, 22, next skates at the Rostelecom Cup in four weeks. He will face 18-year-old U.S. champion Nathan Chen, who beat Hanyu at the Four Continents Championships at the PyeongChang Olympic venue in February.

The figure skating season continues next weekend with Nebelhorn Trophy in Germany, the final Olympic qualifying competition. North Korea could clinch its first spots in any sport for the Olympics in the pairs event.

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