Armstrong: Cyclists and motorists need mutual respect

Tour de France champ accepts Kornheiser’s apology

Lance Armstrong spoke to US radio talkshow host Tony Kornheiser live on his morning show today. He accepted an apology for Kornheiser’s anti-cyclist tirade and tried to spread some love and understanding between motorists and cyclists.

Kornheiser opened the ‘apology’ section of his ESPN show with The Beatles’ All you need is love playing in the background, and said: “I went on one of my rants the other day about bicyclists in Rock Creek Park and in new dedicated bicycle lanes in Washington DC... and got way over the top.

“The bicycle people who heard it were properly offended and it worked its way all the way to the most famous cyclist in the history of the United States, the multiple Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong, who lit me up on Twitter, which many of you have read about.”

Kornheiser said he got in touch with Armstrong through his friendship with Lance’s biographer Sally Jenkins. “Lance called all the way from France when he was done working out in preparation for the Tour de France and we talked about a lot of things,” he said. “I certainly apologised for any inference that I made, which was not an inference, the direct thing about, you know, going after bicyclists.”

During their on-air conversation, the two spoke about the aggressive attitude many motorists have towards cyclists. Armstrong said: “Well, first of all let me just say that … for myself and all the people that get on bikes, we appreciate your apology and I think we take that as a sincere apology.

“If it’s you or me, or anybody else out there that has this podium … whatever we say ... it might be funny, we may think it’s a joke but people actually take it seriously sometimes.

“And so, to your point of this interaction and this relationship between people on bikes and people in cars. I think that's a relationship that has to co-exist now and forever because … we're both gonna be around forever. It's one that's going to require mutual respect.

“Cyclists can't go down the road five abreast in RockCreekPark. I understand. I go on rides all the time when people start lining up beside me wanting to chat and I say, ‘Hey, you know we gotta single up here, we got some cars back’.

“But at the same time there's no need for a car to come by and brush a cyclist, especially considering they're human beings on bikes … Not everybody's used to riding with cars. It could be a a 40-year-old lady – it's her first bike ride and she's out on the street and some guy comes and brushes her and taps her with a mirror. Trust me, she never gets on a bike ever again because she's so scared, and that's a shame. I know it's a volatile situation sometimes but both sides have to understand each other…

“The other thing I think I should say … [is that] cycling lost a guy yesterday who was well regarded and loved by many people, and got hit by a car and killed in the Carolinas – a guy by the name of Adam Little. I think it touched this nerve for a lot of people in the cycling community for both of those things to come out on the same day … Look, we’ve got to all get along here, and sometimes it's heated.”

You can hear the full discussion now.

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