Disgraced American cyclist Lance Armstrong accepts his role in systematic drug cheating during his ride to the top of the sport will stick with him the rest of his life.
Armstrong took part in a ride on the Auckland waterfront this morning, but minus prominent New Zealand Ironman Cameron Brown.
Brown, having gone for a ride with Armstrong a day earlier, has gone to ground, pulling out of media interviews in reaction to being trolled on social media for his involvement with Armstrong.
Another rider not there was former top New Zealand road racer Stephen Swart, a former team mate of Armstrong's.
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Armstrong has made noises about being keen to catch up with Waikato-based Swart, who was among the first people to speak out against Armstrong over his use of banned drugs while at the top of the sport with the US Postal team.
Swart said he wasn't hard to find; getting his phone number wasn't a challenge and Armstrong, rather than get an intermediary to text him, could always pick up a phone.
"I'd like to," Armstrong told Herald Focus today in answer to whether he was still keen to meet Swart.
"Obviously I didn't have contact information so I asked someone to make the connection. That's what I was trying to do.
"Next thing it's in the paper, but yeah it's something I'd like to do."
Armstrong also had sympathy for 10-time national Ironman champion Brown.
"I understand it's a polarising issue," Armstrong said.
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"I don't know Cameron Brown, it's the first time (we'd met). But I also know he has a choice not to come (to this morning's ride).
''It was nice to meet him, but I don't hold any grudges towards him.
"I understand people are upset but at the same time Cameron has the right to make his own choices."
The seven-time Tour de France champion had those titles stripped from him and received a life ban from the sport for his doping offences. That stench won't leave him.
Asked if cycling fans, including those who took the time out for this morning's ride, had "moved on" from his involvement in the scandal, Armstrong said: "You have to ask them.
"It is what it is. I can't make it right. A lot of fans were betrayed, the sport and sponsors were betrayed. That's a long walk.
"Joining up here this morning is not going to make it go away. (I'm) 45 years old and I'll be talking about it when I'm 90."
Armstrong, who let out that he'd played two rounds of golf, and went riding in the Waitakere Ranges with a group of riders since arriving in New Zealand to film a commercial for Lion Breweries, admitted events such as that centred around Mechanics Bay on the Auckland waterfront, were "humbling".
"I used to do these all the time. I've done it in Dublin, Adelaide, Los Angeles, Glasgow, but it's been a few years since I did them.
''I figured it's a beautiful morning, people like to ride their bikes, let's get out early, beat the traffic and get on with our day."
Lion admitted it had brought Armstrong to the country, but would not say why.
However an email to Lion staff said Armstrong was in the country for a film shoot.
"We are using Lance to tell a cautionary tale called 'The Consequence', which depicts how much you stand to lose when you pursue success at all costs.
"We wanted to highlight that actions have consequences and we couldn't think of anyone better to demonstrate that than Lance," the email said.