PARIS (AP) — The 1987 winner of the Tour de France supports Lance Armstrong riding part of this July's route to raise funds against blood cancer.

Stephen Roche says "it's for a very good cause" and adds "he hasn't killed anybody."

Former English soccer player Geoff Thomas invited Armstrong on the unofficial charity ride. To raise $1.5 million, Thomas plans to ride on the Tour route a day before the professional peloton.

Armstrong said he was "honored and humbled" to take part for a couple of days. The head of world cycling, UCI President Brian Cookson, called Armstrong's participation "ill-advised" and "disrespectful to the Tour de France." Armstrong is banned for life from organized sports for doping.

Roche says "it's a charity event. There will be no podium."