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Posted at 7:56 AM ET, 02/16/2011

Lance Armstrong says he's retiring from cycling for good

By Cindy Boren

armstrongaussie.jpg
Lance Armstrong's last race was the Tour Down Under. (Associated Press)

Just in case it wasn't clear -- and it can be murky with athletes -- Lance Armstrong has said that this time his cycling career really is over.

Armstrong, the seven-time Tour de France winner, called this "Retirement 2.0" and said he intends to focus on his five children and his Live Strong organization.

"Never say never," Armstrong told Jim Litke of the Associated Press with a laugh. Litke reports that he quickly added, "Just kidding."

See how it can get murky? Four years ago, Armstrong retired, then made a comeback attempt in 2009. "I can't say I have any regrets. It's been an excellent ride. I really thought I was going to win another tour," he said of his previous decision to unretire. "Then I lined up like everybody else and wound up third. I have no regrets about last year, either. [He finished 23rd.] The crashes, the problems with the bike -- those were things that were beyond my control."

His final race will have been the Tour Down Under, in which he finished 67th, and the finish line for him was visible as far back as last summer's Tour de France. He leaves behind the grueling training regimen, but a federal investigation into cycling and doping continues, with no resolution in sight. The investigation stems in part from allegations by Floyd Landis, who was stripped of his 2006 Tour victory, that Armstrong, his former teammate, used drugs and showed riders how to beat drug tests. (A recent Sports Illustrated investigative piece was entitled "The Case Against Lance Armstrong.")

"I can't control what goes on in regards to the investigation. That's why I hire people to help me with that. I try not to let it bother me and just keep rolling right along. I know what I know," Armstrong said. "I know what I do and I know what I did. That's not going to change."

Armstrong leaves a mixed legacy. Litke writes:

One thing that never changed, though, was how Armstrong's withering gaze controlled the pack of riders around him. He doled out favors, like stage wins, or withheld them as the mood struck him. He could command the peloton to speed up to chase a breakaway rider or slow down with an ease the old-time cycling bosses - respectfully called patrons - would have envied.
That was just one reason Armstrong leaves the sport with nearly as many enemies as friends.
"A lot of that has been overanalyzed and inaccurately portrayed, but it's part and parcel of cycling. It's how cycling operates," Armstrong said. "There's too much infighting, jealousy and bitterness within the sport, so everybody tries to pick apart a person or a spectacular performance.
"And some of it," he added, "we bring on ourselves."

By Cindy Boren  | February 16, 2011; 7:56 AM ET
Categories:  Lance Armstrong  
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Comments

What is wrong with steroids? They certainly did not hurt Schwarzenegger!

Posted by: randyguthrie | February 16, 2011 9:09 AM | Report abuse

They did hurt Jesse "The Body" Ventura.

Posted by: bs2004 | February 16, 2011 9:37 AM | Report abuse

No more pix of Lance hugging George Bush or reading about him dumping yet another wife? Whatever will we do for sports news now!

Posted by: dolph924 | February 16, 2011 9:42 AM | Report abuse

Steroids?.....Lyle Alzado.

Alzado is probably most remembered today for being one of the first major U.S. sports figures to admit to using anabolic steroids.

He said:
“ I started taking anabolic steroids in 1969 and never stopped. It was addicting, mentally addicting. Now I'm sick, and I'm scared. Ninety percent of the athletes I know are on the stuff. We're not born to be 300 lb (140 kg) or jump 30 ft (9.1 m) But all the time I was taking steroids, I knew they were making me play better. I became very violent on the field and off it. I did things only crazy people do. Once a guy sideswiped my car and I beat the hell out of him. Now look at me. My hair's gone, I wobble when I walk and have to hold on to someone for support, and I have trouble remembering things. My last wish? That no one else ever dies this way."[11]

Posted by: go2goal | February 16, 2011 9:55 AM | Report abuse

WHO CARES?

Posted by: dhenken1 | February 16, 2011 9:58 AM | Report abuse

Lyle Alzado died from brain cancer. Steroids do not cause cancer.

There is no scientific evidence that anabolic steroids are more harmful than smoking and drinking. In fact cortical steroids are in fact more harmful than anabolic steroids though they are prescribed routinely to and used by professional athletes.

A man training with steroids is no different than a woman having plastic surgery. The choice about whether to use steroids should be between a man and his doctor.

The silly things that are said about steroids remind me of what people used to say about pot - Reefer Madness, etc.

Posted by: randyguthrie | February 16, 2011 10:23 AM | Report abuse

GOOD!

Posted by: whocares666 | February 16, 2011 10:35 AM | Report abuse

was shocked to find out Lance is 84 years old ..wow

Posted by: alank44 | February 16, 2011 12:12 PM | Report abuse

was shocked to find out Lance is 84 years old ..wow

Posted by: alank44 | February 16, 2011 12:13 PM | Report abuse

In sport, there are few things sadder than the sight of some aging jock who refuses to retire when he is at the top of his game, but hangs on and keeps trying to make "comebacks" long after his body is too old to play at the highest levels. Lance Armstrong has joined Mark Spitz and many others who took too long to learn this lesson and cast a bit of a pall on their careers by doing so.

Posted by: swmuva | February 16, 2011 12:47 PM | Report abuse

Uh oh. This means another Sally Jenkins column.

Posted by: Sojouner | February 16, 2011 1:28 PM | Report abuse

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