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It's the Tour de France bicycle race in France and American Lance Armstrong is back in the saddle after a three year break. And what a saddle: he will be completing the final stage of the race this weekend on a bicycle decorated by Damien Hirst, the famous British artist. The bicycle, a Trek Madone, will have real butterflies shimmering in the light and the logos in bright pink.
They won't add any weight to the bike but they will add a lot of cachet. The bicycle will be auctioned off after the race and is expected to fetch more than a million dollars for Stages, a part of Armstrong's cancer charity.
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In fact there are 6 different bicycles in the Stages exhibition that have been decorated by hot artists and all of the money from their sale will go to The Lance Armstrong Foundation. Trek, Nike, and the artists have teamed up to raise money for the Foundation.
Shepard Fairey, famous for his iconic Obama image during the recent presidential campaign, decorated one for the 2009 Giro d'Italia. Commemorating the 100th year of the race, he did it all in filigree, in homage to the Italian heritage of the race.
The other artists are KAWS, Kenny Scharf, Marc Newson, and Yosimoto Nara (pictured above). The auction is October 2, 2009, in New York.
The final day of the Tour is this Sunday, July 26, 2009. Watch for Lance and his bicycle.