DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Disgraced cyclist Lance Armstrong says fellow riders have been "supportive" of him this week during an annual bike ride across Iowa. Armstrong is in the Midwest for a weeklong event known as RAGBRAI, which starts at the Missouri River in western Iowa and ends at the Mississippi River. It's the first public appearance on a bike for the seven-time Tour de France winner since he ended years of denials in January and admitting he doped to win. Armstrong told the Des Moines Register, which sponsors RAGBRAI, that riding in the event allows him to stay connected with the sport he loves. Armstrong has participated in RAGBRAI five times. He says that while he braced for negative reactions from other riders, he didn't expect a wave of hostility.