Yes folks, it’s that time of year again when the months training done by cyclists on the local roads – free-wheeling through red robots, riding thirteen abreast, not bothering to buy lights, cycling along the freeways etc etc – come to fruition as they get some roads closed for a little while and then get to complain about the heat and the wind for the next six months.
But this year is slightly different, as the self-proclaimed God of cycling and n times Tour de France winner, Lance Armstrong is in town.
Cue desperate fawning from all and sundry in the cycling community (all of whom are on first name terms with Lance Armstrong) and the new regulation that we must all worship Lance Armstrong because he did all that without getting caught using drugs – not like today’s cheats.
Lance Armstrong arrived last night in Cape Town and wasted no time is slagging off the local immigration officials because he didn’t have two blank pages in his passport (a fairly regular entry requirement for many countries around the world) and thus Home Affairs refused him entry.
Fair play, I would have thought, but Lance Armstrong wasn’t happy.
“Don’t you know who I am?” he might well have said. I don’t know, because I wasn’t there. But if I had have been there, I would have guessed that he was someone that didn’t know even the basics of traveling abroad.
However, this tweet:
@LanceArmstrong Well, made it in to SA. Not the friendliest welcome I’ve ever received but we’ve all seen immigration officers like that. #posterboymaterial
has divided the nation.
Yep – Lance Armstrong had a go at passport control because they were following rather basic guidelines. And that brought out his sickeningly sycophantic fans in a tirade of anti-Home Affairs abuse. This in turn caused a backlash of people who think Lance Armstrong is actually rather ordinary who pointed out that only a egotistic twat would turn up at passport control with a full passport and then blame someone else. I think I was one of them.
Aki Anastasiou risks the wrath of the cycling mafia with his suggestion that Lance Armstrong owes South Africans an apology. But I’m in full agreement. Whether he meant it or not, he’s come over as arrogant and hugely self-important – and damn rude about a guy who was just doing his job.
There’s a more serious side to this though. Lance Armstrong has 2,500,000 followers on twitter and much like Stephen Fry, can’t pretend he doesn’t recognise the power and significance of what he shares. When he blames someone else (specifically SA Immigration, in this case) for an error that he made, it reflects badly on this country. And until he apologises (to the same audience), no amount of cheesily-posed photos on Chapman’s Peak Drive are going to swing the damage that he has done to SA’s reputation amongst his sadly brain-washed devotees.