The French describe it as "cracher dans la soupe": to spit in the soup. And on the eve of the 100th Tour de France, which organisers have heralded as a "historic edition" of the country's biggest sporting event, the former seven-time winner Lance Armstrong has been doing so with relish.
In a perhaps cynically timed interview with Le Monde, Armstrong – who was stripped of his seven Tour titles and given a lifetime ban for doping last year – claimed that it was "impossible to win the Tour without doping" in his era, before warning that drug-taking will always be a part of the sport.
"I didn't invent doping," he said. "And it didn't stop when I stopped. I simply participated in a system. I am a human being. Doping has existed since antiquity and will always carry on."
Last night seasoned Armstrong watchers suggested the interview was an act of retaliation: every living person who has finished the Tour has been invited to a special 100th-anniversary function in Paris on 21 July – except the American.