An estimated 1000 cyclists joined Lance Armstrong on a waterfront bike ride in Auckland.
Despite being stripped of his seven Tour de France titles in 2013, plenty of Kiwis seemed keen to get up close to Armstrong, who said he was humbled by the showing.
The 45-year-old had earlier asked Aucklanders to join him for the waterfront cycle via Twitter.
Impressive turn out for the @lancearmstrong ride pic.twitter.com/JeZxTljIA6
— Jared Patterson (@stigglor) 19 decembrie 2016
Professional cyclists, families, school competitors and cycling commuters joined the 45-year-old Texan for a 24km ride. He said he could not make up for what he had done but he was happy to be riding in Auckland.
“It is what it is, I can’t make it right or go away,” he said. “I get that there are a lot of hurt feelings and really the word is betrayal I mean you guys are betrayed, a lot of fans, the sport and sponsors were betrayed. I’m 45 years old, I’ll be talking about it when I’m 90.”
He said he did not know how many people to expect as it was a long time since he had gone a similar ride with fans and cycling enthusiasts.
“It’s humbling and it’s great to be here. I used to do these all the time, a lot of people would show up but it’s been years since I did it. It’s cool, it’s an honour.”
“If people think I’m curled up in a foetal position they’re wrong, I mean that wouldn’t help anybody, it wouldn’t help my family. So I still get out, travel the world and we’re in a good place.”