Lance Armstrong: 'A man with no platform is a lost man'
Updated 1443 GMT (2243 HKT) July 21, 2017
- Lance Armstrong has Tour de France podcast
- Ex-cyclist says it has given him a platform
- Billed as the Tour's "guilty pleasure"
- Texan still has federal lawsuit looming
(CNN)It has been described as the guilty pleasure of this year's Tour de France, arguably the race's greatest villain waxing lyrical about the race he once dominated for so long.
Lance Armstrong is back in cycling, in a way. Still an outcast to the race, instead he has set up a daily podcast recorded from a small office at the end of the garden of his Austin home, and at occasional other venues nearby.
The 45-year-old is as knowledgeable as you'd expect for a veteran of 13 Tours. Topics have ranged widely from criticizing race organizers for ending the Tour's Queen stage on a treacherous descent to having a hangover as a result of too much rosé wine during his July 4 celebrations.
Fresh off the airwaves of his latest podcast, known as "Stages," Armstrong tells CNN: "I had two platforms before [his public mea culpa to doping four years ago]: cycling and cancer.
"I'm not saying it's right or wrong but they went overnight, not just the cycling but the cancer. A man with no platform is a lost man."
This is not Armstrong's first podcast. For the past few months, he has had one called "The Forward" [disassociating himself from the past] in which guests have ranged from the author Malcolm Gladwell to the former NFL quarterback Brett Favre.
But while that has been well received, Armstrong has been blown away both by the listening numbers and the positive feedback of his latest venture over the airwaves, in which he shares the stage with radio host JB Hager.
At the time of speaking to CNN, he was averaging 300,000 listeners a day -- double that of "The Forward" -- with the numbers rising. Much to the chagrin of the Tour organizers no doubt, it has been something of a hit of the race.
'Not concerned by negativity'
Surely with his past doping indiscretions on the bike there has been some negative feedback?
"The team deal with the emails and I'm sure there are plenty of emails that tell me to 'go f*** yourself'," he says.
"But I'm not overly concerned by the negativity. If someone wants to fire off and make a personal attack, it doesn't affect me. If it's a comment on the accuracy of the show then I'd try to fix that.
"The feedback on Facebook Live, Twitter and Instagram's been good."