Armstrong Meets Sept. 11 Family
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ROUEN, France (AP) _ Lance Armstrong took time from his quest for a fourth straight Tour de France title to meet with the family of a New York City police officer killed in the Sept. 11 attacks.
Armstrong spent about 20 minutes with the family of Paul Talty, who was killed when the World Trade Center collapsed, race organizers and team officials said.
A French police officers’ school helped organize the trip by Talty’s wife, Barbara, and three children for the visit with Armstrong on Wednesday morning at a hotel in Reims, one of the stops in the 21-day race, officials said.
``My children would have never imagined that they would have a chance to come to France and meet Lance,″ Barbara Talty was quoted as saying in Thursday’s edition of Le Parisien. ``It’s really kind of him to take time to show his support for the families. I also want to wish him good luck for the race.″
Armstrong, who overcame testicular cancer, opened his title defense Saturday by winning the Tour prologue in Luxembourg and taking the overall leader’s yellow jersey. He was third after Thursday’s fifth stage, in good position to take the lead when the mountain stages begin next week. The race ends in Paris on July 28.
Officials at Armstrong’s U.S Postal Service team said he wanted to be discreet about the visit with the Talty family.
``He wanted to see these people on a private basis _ no cameras, no journalists,″ team spokesman Jogi Muller said. ``He’s always ready to give something back, but he doesn’t need any hoopla around it.″
Another U.S. Postal official said the visit didn’t distract Armstrong from the race.
``He’s obviously one of the most focused people in the sport and meticulously prepares for the Tour. He leaves nothing to chance,″ said Dan Osipow, the team’s director of operations. ``The fact that he took time to do that is remarkable, yet natural. Everybody wants to show compassion for the families.″