Lance Armstong: no regret at Tour de France invite - Geoff Thomas

Former Crystal Palace and England midfielder Geoff Thomas has told BBC sports editor Dan Roan he has "no regrets" over inviting disgraced drugs cheat Lance Armstrong to ride part of the Tour de France route for charity.

Cancer survivor Thomas is aiming to raise £1m for Cure Leukaemia by cycling the entire route before the official peloton.

He said: "With Lance, it was always going to be controversial, I knew that. But I feel it's time to allow him to carry on with his life."

In 2012, Armstrong was banned for life and stripped of his seven Tour de France victories for doping.

International Cycling Union (UCI) president Brian Cookson has said the idea of the American taking part in the charity ride is "hugely disrespectful" to the rest of the sport and has asked Thomas to reconsider.

But Thomas, who was inspired by Armstrong's battle against cancer, said he stands by the project and will not change his plans.

"I know what I've done," said Thomas. "I just want to give him the opportunity of helping others. If his involvement helps get more revenue in, that's great. I just feel it's about time I give him a lift back into helping people in the cancer community."

Armstrong presented a BBC award to Thomas in 2005 after the former England midfielder first rode the Tour de France route for charity.