Rumors popped up on VeloNews yesterday, and I must admit that it stopped me in mid-sandwich-bite. Lance Armstrong seems to be setting his sights on an 8th Tour de France victory. As a die-hard bike geek, you’ve probably already run across this news, but just in case you hadn’t, here’s confirmation via the AP:
By JIM VERTUNO, AP Sports Writer 37 minutes ago
Lance Armstrong is getting back on his bike, determined to win an eighth
Tour de France.
Armstrong’s return from cancer to win the Tour a record seven consecutive
times made him a hero to cancer patients worldwide and elevated cycling to
an unprecedented level in America.
The Tour “is the intention,” Armstrong’s spokesman Mark Higgins told The
Associated Press, “but we’ve got some homework to do over there.”
Added Bill Stapleton, Armstrong’s lawyer and longtime confidant: “We’re not
going to try to win second place.”
What team he’ll ride with and in what other races he’ll compete are
undecided, Higgins said.
“I am happy to announce that after talking with my children, my family and
my closest friends, I have decided to return to professional cycling in
order to raise awareness of the global cancer burden,” the 36-year-old
Armstrong said in a statement released to The Associated Press. “This year
alone, nearly eight million people will die of cancer worldwide. … It’s
now time to address cancer on a global level.”
In an exclusive interview with Vanity Fair, Armstrong told the magazine he’s
100 percent sure he’s going to compete in the Tour de France next summer.
“I’m going back to professional cycling,” he said in the story posted
Tuesday on the magazine’s Web site. “I’m going to try and win an eighth Tour
On Monday, the cycling journal VeloNews reported on its Web site that
Armstrong would compete with the Astana team, led by close friend John
Bruyneel, in the Tour and four other road races — the Amgen Tour of
California, Paris-Nice, the Tour de Georgia and the Dauphine-Libere.
But there are no guarantees Astana would be allowed to race in the 2009
Tour. Race officials kept the team out of the 2008 Tour because previous
Also notable in the VN article is the plan “to do some cyclocross races”. This after damn near winning the Leadville 100 last month. You can say what you want, but the man has a serious engine. And he’s done a significant amount to raise awareness of both cycling and cancer, just to understate the point. Good excuse to head to France next year. I reckon it’ll be pretty epic.