Andy Priaulx has warmed up for his home round of the World Touring Car Championship season at Brands Hatch with a trip over the English Channel to visit the Tour de France.
The BMW Team UK driver was able to meet one his all time heroes in the shape of American Lance Armstrong, who battled back from cancer to secure a record-breaking seven wins in the French classic.
Despite retiring back in 2005, Armstrong came out of retirement this season to chase an eighth Tour victory and is currently lying third after twelve stages behind Rinaldo Nocentini and Astana team-mate Alberto Contador.
Priaulx had the chance to meet his hero ahead of the stage from Tonnerre to Vittel and then followed the riders through the stage in one of the support vehicles.
“Meeting Lance was absolutely fantastic,” he said. “He was so relaxed and upbeat before the stage. These guys are among the fittest and most determined athletes in the world. I can't believe what they have to cope with, as it was over 30 degrees. The stage was over 200 kilometres long and they averaged 48kph in the first hour! That is tough.”
Following his trip, Priaulx will now turn focus to this weekend's event at Brands Hatch, and despite a tough season to date, the Guernseyman said he was confident about his chances
“I may not have had the best year to date, but I always look at the positives and not the negatives,” he said. “The positive is I have probably the best package out there. My car is perfect, my team are totally dedicated and professional and I feel I am driving as well as ever. We are fast and reliable and I am always happy when I know I have the speed to win if all the circumstances come together to let this happen.
“As I always say, speed does not lie, and taking that thought into this weekend I feel pretty optimistic.”