GAP, France (AFP) - Former Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong will be assured of a red-hot welcome in the Alps when he joins up with his Discovery Channel team.
But this time, the 34-year-old Texan's exploits on a bike will not be the reason.
The now retired seven-time winner hit the headlines for all the wrong reasons a few days ago when he labelled the French football team "assholes".
And given some headlines and editorials in the French press ahead of his expected arrival, the American could find himself on a bumpy ride when he joins up with the team which he part owns, Discovery Channel.
France Soir newspaper took the most direct shot at the American with a headline on Monday which was equal to his outburst.
"Welcome in France asshole!"
Below a picture of the American, a small editorial read: "Lance Armstrong, the seven-time Tour winner, publicly insulted Zinedine Zidane's French football team. He's arriving tonight on the race, and he intends to stay until the final stage on the Champs Elysees."
Armstrong's record of seven straight wins on the Tour have also been accompanied by unfounded rumours of drug use throughout his career.
Only last month it was reported that when he contracted cancer in 1996, he admitted to a doctor that he had already used performance enhancing drugs.
Armstrong has always denied using drugs.
Despite making his fortune from winning the world's biggest race, he has always had a love-hate relationship with the French.
His outburst last week appeared designed to hit the French where it hurts most. France lost the World Cup final to Italy in a dramatic penalty shoot-out last week.
Armstrong is reported to have said in his opening monologue at an ESPY awards ceremony: "All their players (France) tested positive ... for being ass holes."
Armstrong said afterwards that he didn't regard his comments as being offensive.
"Well, if they'd live with me and heard me at home, they'd know that was a step down," Armstrong said.
Tuesday's 15th stage on the Tour is from Gap to the Alpe d'Huez.
It was on the Alpe, one of the race's most popular climbs, that Armstrong often met with fans and detractors alike.
Having compared his outburst to "verbal diahrrea", France Soir suggested he might come in for more serious abuse this time, but that his outburst was simply a publicity gesture.
"Has Lance Armstrong lost the plot? The guy who doesn't speak out in public before consulting his lawyers seven times? Apparently not.
"His outburst has been designed to bring publicity to his Discovery Channel team. They are 10th in the race's team standings, and have been hugely disappointing on the race."
In Armstrong's absence, Discovery Channel's best placed rider is Ukrainian Yaroslav Popovych, who is 11th overall at 5min 44secs behind race leader Oscar Pereiro.