Lance Armstrong will cycle two stages of the Tour de France, the day before competing riders, for a leukemia charity, according to Agence France-Presse (AFP). Armstrong and ten other cyclists will ride from Muret to Rodez on Thursday, and from Rodez to Mende on Friday.
The charity, founded by former English soccer player and leukemia survivor Geoff Thomas, hopes to raise about $1.5 million through sponsors.
UCI president Brian Cookson has called for Armstrong to withdraw from the ride.
“It is undesirable. I think it is disrespectful,” Cookson told the AFP. “I think there are plenty of ways of raising money for charity that Lance could do.”
But Armstrong plans to ride on Thursday and Friday, regardless of Cookson’s comments.
“I don’t know Brian Cookson. I’ve never met him, never really had a conversation with him, don’t even know what his vision is for the sport,” Armstrong told the AFP. “But I do know that me and Geoff [Thomas] riding in France for this cause is the least of his problems.”