x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

Armstrong: I would like to go out as a winner

Lance Armstrong, the seven-time Tour de France winner, speaks about his final appearance in the event.

Lance Armstrong will ride for Team RadioShack this year.
Lance Armstrong will ride for Team RadioShack this year.

Lance Armstrong, the seven-time Tour de France winner, spoke with reporters this week about his final appearance in the event. When did you make the decision it would be your last Tour de France? A while ago. It's just a family decision. That came from pressure from my kids: "When are you going to stop doing this?" I'm away all the time. Not all the time, but enough time. I don't need to miss them any more. The last days of school, school-related things, big events. Now, my son is 10, almost 11, he is almost like a little guy, a little man. The possibilities for us to do stuff together are just greater and greater. That's the biggest factor.

Is this year's Tour de France going to be your last race? No. There is the possibility that I do some other events that are related, I think like last year, that are closely related to the [Livestrong] foundation. They can be non-bike races, triathlons, marathons or just endurance-related events that coincide with the work we are doing. I'm quite certain this is the last European bike race. I'm pretty sure about that.

:How do you feel going into your last Tour de France? Athletically, professionally, I feel good; better than last year, more motivated than last year, a different team situation than last year. So from a sportsman perspective, I would like to go out as a winner. That's not easy to do. We have a very strong field. I want to have a good time. I want to appreciate the event, maybe in a different way than I have before.

How have you been dealing with Floyd Landis's allegations (that you have been doping)? I did my first Tour in 1993 and now it's 2010. And I won a stage in 1993 at 20 years old. I've been at the front of my sport since the day I showed up. And in the process there have been a ton of questions and a ton of scrutiny and a lot of controls and a lot of investigations. And I'm still here. It didn't start two months ago; it started in 1999 which is 11 years ago and I'm still here.

What is your best Tour memory? No one stands up. And the worst? (The death of Fabio Casartelliin a crash in 1995). Nothing can be compared to that. You never, ever expect that, although this is a dangerous game. It has been reported that there was a federal investigation against you looking into Landis's allegation. Has anyone been in contact with you? With me, no. I'm not sure [the special investigator] would call me. But my lawyers no, we haven't heard.

* Reuters