By The Associated Press
THIERS, France (AP)Lance Armstrong is picking his country to finish second in the race for the 2012 Olympics. The Texan endorsed Paris instead of New York when asked Wednesday which city should win the highly competitive bid for the Summer Games.
“To be fair, I think that Paris deserves the Olympics,” Armstrong said in an interview with The Associated Press. “I think they were arguably the best candidate in 2008 but for different reasons Paris didn’t win, and they went to Beijing.”
The six-time Tour de France champion acknowledged he was torn over the decision, and that his heart was with New York, given “everything they went through the last four-five years,” an apparent reference to the trauma of the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks.
But he added: “If they don’t win in 2012, they could win in 2016.”
Armstrong’s comments came as the International Olympic Committee’s evaluation commission began its four-day visit to Paris. The French capital is competing against New York, London, Madrid and Moscow. The IOC will select the host city on July 6.
“Paris is one of the legendary cities in the world,” Armstrong said, adding that the Stade de France would be a “special place for the opening ceremony.”
Officials for NYC2012 had no comment on Armstrong’s endorsement.