STURGIS | Perhaps, the comeback starts in Sturgis.

Lance Armstrong, who has been stripped of seven Tour De France titles and received a lifetime ban from competitive cycling for doping, was named Monday as the grand marshal of the 12th Annual Mayor's Ride at the Sturgis motorcycle rally.

City officials defended the decision by saying that everyone deserves a second chance, even if in this case it is an individual who fell out of favor with adoring fans around the world and lost of millions of dollars of sponsorships in the process.

"We understand the controversy that surrounds Lance, but we are willing to meet it head on. The city of Sturgis is about second chances," said Brenda Vasknetz, Sturgis motorcycle rally director.

Mayor Mark Carstensen, who will be the leader of the pack with Armstrong on the Monday, Aug. 4, ride, said city officials discussed Armstrong's tattered reputation before reaching out to him.

"That is not something that stopped us from inviting him to the mayor's ride and even building a further relationship," Carstensen said. "Just having a person like Lance Armstrong involved with the Mayor's Ride is an honor."

At least one council member, however, wanted to steer clear of the 42-year-old Armstrong, who after being confronted with considerable evidence admitted in 2013 that he used performance-enhancing drugs for years while dominating the international cycling world.

"I'm not too sure that he is an appropriate person," council member Mike Bachand said. "There is a stigma that goes with being stripped of your titles. I'm not sure that is a precedent we want to set in Sturgis."

Sturgis City Manager Daniel Ainslie said that Armstrong, who also is a cancer survivor, is an excellent choice for the honor despite that fact that his public persona has gone downhill since 2012.

"It's inherent that everyone has made mistakes in their lives. No one is perfect. We need to look for the good in individuals," he said. "Lance is a tremendous athlete who has done good things for good causes."

The annual mayor's ride is a fundraiser for the Sturgis Volunteer Fire Department. In past years, the governor, state legislators, industry professionals and a cross-section of motorcycle enthusiasts have participated in the ride.

Vasknetz believes that Armstrong has the potential to draw a whole new crowd of cyclists to Sturgis.

“There is a large crossover of cyclists that ride both motorcycles and bicycles. Teaming up with Lance was a natural fit, as he is also an avid motorcyclist.” she said.

While in Sturgis, Armstrong will make a number of guest appearances at locations that include Boz Bros Lot at Exit 32, Sturgis Coffee, Easyriders Saloon, The Knuckle, Loud American Roadhouse, and Mid-States Campers.

(13) comments

Aliasetc
Aliasetc

Wonder how much the city is paying Lance for appearance, is it in steroids? And will he be urine tested before the Mayors ride and directly after?

Celtgunn
Celtgunn

While I agree Lance Armstrong does deserve a second chance... I don't believe it should have been as Grand Marshall, not here, not at Sturgis. We already have enough troubles with the Rally and keeping things up and up out here. Without dragging this trouble out here too.

GSrider
GSrider

I was very disappointed to read that Mr. Armstrong was chosen as Grand Marshall of the Mayor's ride. I'm happy I didn't shell out the $161 by registering online for the ride. He disgraced the United States to the world and is the epitome of poor sportsmanship. So many at Sturgis walk hand in hand with U.S. veterans, who've served this country, sacrificing their lives these are men and women of honor. We all make mistakes, but Lance Armstrong made his over and over and over and over again representing America to the world, and destroyed those who tried to shed light on the truth. That is not what Sturgis is about.

Sulako
Sulako

A liar and a cheat - what a splendid role model to serve as Parade Marshal. A better choice would have been Councilman Mike Bachand who is apparently the only member of that body with insight, integrity, and courage.

Gov
Gov

Rally Director Brenda Vasknetz said it all in her quotes in this article...
1. Armstrong has the potential to draw a whole new crowd of cyclists to the Sturgis..
2. There is a large crossover of cyclists that ride both motorcycles and bicycles. Teaming up with Lance was a natural fit, as he is also an avid motorcyclist.” she said.
The ONLY thing that matters to the Rally Director in this matter is the almighty dollar. Just keep the crowds coming to the Rally , but at the expense of the Rally's integrity, and of all South Dakota citizens who find this decision so reprehensible that it makes me nauseous

deadwood1
deadwood1

Perfect for the politics of the Black Hills---A Corrupt Cheat!

beaker
beaker

What a joke this is. The man has no integrity.

7th Sun
7th Sun

There are always two sides to every story. This guy was hounded and dragged through muck by the media and jealous competitors until he threw the towel in. Maybe? Maybe not? I'm glad he's going to be in Sturgis, hope I get to see him. One way or another he is a icon, no one can deny that.

Ducati Guy
Ducati Guy

Birds of a feather. The actions of those who have no morals.

On a side-note : Armstrong stated unequivicably that his motorcycle is not now, nor has it ever run on nitromethane, and that his bike will be running 85 octane pump gas. He also stated that he will sue anyone who states otherwise.

West River
West River

Stripped of seven Tour De France titles and received a lifetime ban from competitive cycling for doping, was named Monday as the grand marshal of the 12th Annual Mayor's Ride at the Sturgis motorcycle rally.

Now Sturgis puts him on a honor pedestal. "He deserves a second chance" give me a break.

What about the other cyclists that he cheated out of winning the Tour De France. What about the other people that he accused of lying when he was the liar. What about the people he has sued that had to defend themselves against his lies?


A few people in Sturgis need to have their heads examined but it's anything for a buck.

harpua
harpua

lol lance armstrong.

Black Hawk
Black Hawk

Who came up with the idea to invite him and who else was on the list?

g-mac21
g-mac21

Instead of having Lance Armstrong be the Grand Marshall, they should have all the people he's thrown under the bus over the years. People whose lives he ruined by suing them for trying to tell the truth about his doping. Maybe they can't because that list is probably too long.

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
PLEASE TURN OFF YOUR CAPS LOCK.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.