The curious case of Lance Armstrong’s imaginary Tour de France partnership

Any mention of Tour affiliation has been scrubbed from WEDU.

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Despite being stripped of his seven titles and receiving a lifetime ban from professional cycling, Lance Armstrong has made sure he remains a part of the Tour de France conversation through his ‘The Move’ podcast.

Started in 2017, the daily analysis show hosted on his WEDŪ platform features Armstrong and his former teammate George Hincapie discussing each of the 21 stages. You can’t stop someone from talking about the race, but Armstrong’s lifetime ban includes ineligibility from “participating in any activity” in conjunction with a WADA signatory. That would include the Tour de France.

For the past few years, Armstrong has lingered on the periphery, his shows occasionally breaking through to the mainstream Tour conversation when he says something particularly outlandish, yet still commands a not insignificant audience. So far this Tour de France the YouTube videos of each show have received around 40,000 views.

This year, however, a subtle difference emerged. In the description below the video versions of the podcast, a line was included in between the various promotional links to the show’s sponsors.

“In partnership with the Amaury Sport Organisation,” organiser of the Tour de France.

Photo: Jakub Zimoch

What did this mean?

As Armstrong, Hincapie and their co-host JB Hager discuss the racing in the video production of the podcast, footage of the stage appears on the screen. Tour de France video rights are a heavily protected asset as they form ASO’s main income. Broadcasters around the world pay hefty sums to televise the world’s biggest bike race in their territories.

So, the logical conclusion is that Armstrong was either allowed to purchase rights to show the Tour de France on his platform, or the Texan didn’t have permission and was just doing it anyway.

ASO were unaware of any partnership when contacted by CyclingTips before stage five and declined to offer a comment as they investigated the matter.

Lance Armstrong at the 2004 Tour de France shaking hands with former race director Jean-Marie Leblanc.

When stage 5’s episode of ‘The Move’ was uploaded, it featured zero race coverage and any mention of being “in partnership with the Amaury Sport Organisation” was also missing from the video’s description. The tagline had also been removed from the four previous episodes, although they remained live and with the race footage still included.

CyclingTips understands there is and never was any parternship between Armstrong’s WEDŪ and ASO. It is not yet clear whether ASO have asked WEDŪ to remove the videos featuring the race footage that are still live on YouTube. WEDŪ did not respond when contacted for comment. When CyclingTips went back to ASO after the mentions of the partnership had been removed, they also said “no comment”.

WEDŪ also produces a Spanish-language version of ‘The Move’ called ‘La Movida’. This Tour de France analysis show, which does not feature Lance Armstrong, does not contain any Tour race footage or the tagline “in partnership with the Amaury Sport Organisation”.

For those interested in how things are currently going in the world of Lance Armstrong, in the stage 4 episode a photo is shown of Armstrong and Hincapie in which the Texan is wearing a red t-shirt emblazoned with the slogan: “My life is dope and I do dope shit,” a quote that Kanye West once apparently said to comedian Dave Chapelle in a telephone conversation.

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