Lance Armstrong says he's retiring from cycling for good
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."
| February 16, 2011; 7:56 AM ET
Categories: Lance Armstrong
Save & Share: Previous: Bill Russell, Stan Musial presented with Medal of Freedom
Next: Senators urge MLB, players' union to agree to ban on smokeless tobacco
Posted by: randyguthrie | February 16, 2011 9:09 AM | Report abuse
Posted by: bs2004 | February 16, 2011 9:37 AM | Report abuse
Posted by: dolph924 | February 16, 2011 9:42 AM | Report abuse
Posted by: go2goal | February 16, 2011 9:55 AM | Report abuse
Posted by: dhenken1 | February 16, 2011 9:58 AM | Report abuse
Posted by: randyguthrie | February 16, 2011 10:23 AM | Report abuse
Posted by: whocares666 | February 16, 2011 10:35 AM | Report abuse
Posted by: alank44 | February 16, 2011 12:12 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: alank44 | February 16, 2011 12:13 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: swmuva | February 16, 2011 12:47 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: Sojouner | February 16, 2011 1:28 PM | Report abuse