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Damien Hirst thrives on creating controversy. (One of his first works to garner attention was that dead shark suspended in formaldehyde, which is now part of hedge fund mogul Steve Cohen's collection.) So it's hardly a surprise that he's stirring the pot once again. But this time Lance Armstrong gets to go along for the ride.

Hirst's latest work is a bicycle that's covered with dead butterflies. Lance Armstrong plans to ride the bike on Sunday in the last leg of the Tour de France in Paris. And after the race is over, Armstrong plans to auction it off, with the proceeds going to his Livestrong foundation.

Naturally, animal rights groups are up in arms about both Hirst's creation as well as Armstrong's tacit endorsement:

"This is barbaric and horrific," said Sam Glover of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals. "Lance Armstrong is all about life—about not dying and about overcoming adversity. Damien Hirst is a one-trick pony who ruins the very essence of this man's spirit by associating him with dead butterflies."

So it's Damien Hirst who is "ruining the essence" of Lance Armstrong's "spirit" now? We're pretty sure that the very long list of women he's left his wake would attest to the fact that happened ages ago.

Damien Hirst accused of 'horrific barbarity' [Daily Mail]