July 27, 2003
The Texan, a personal friend of U.S. President George W. Bush, had not exactly been France's most-loved athlete in recent years and was booed on the climb to the Mount Ventoux last year.
But despite Franco-American tensions over the Iraq war, there was no animosity whatsoever from the crowds this year, and fans seemed won over by Armstrong's struggling and suffering in this year's race.
The American, who made himself available to sign autographs and always spoke a few words on French television at the end of stages, said he had felt the difference.
"There were a lot of American flags this year," he said. "They scream and it's a French person - Allez Lance! It's a little bit strange, but it happened many times."
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