x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 July 2017

Armstrong's Tour hangs in the balance

The chances of seven-time winner Lance Armstrong riding in next year's Tour de France are 50-50, according to his Astana bosses.

Lance Armstrong's decision to compete in the 2009 Tour de France has yet to be announced.
Lance Armstrong's decision to compete in the 2009 Tour de France has yet to be announced.

PARIS // The chances of seven-time winner Lance Armstrong riding in next year's Tour de France are 50-50, according to the Astana team manager Johan Bruyneel. The Tour de France organisers also appeared fairly indifferent over the prospect of Armstrong opting out of the race as they presented next year's route. The American, who dominated the race from 1999 to 2005 before retiring, will return to competitive cycling in January but said he was undecided on his participation in the Tour.

"His chances of doing the Tour are 50-50 for the moment," Bruyneel said. "We have to see if he is physically able to cope with it. Personally, I think he is capable. "I can tell you he is in better shape (now) than in 2003 or 2004 because he used to take a big break after the Tour. He now needs to get this extra one per cent that will make the difference" the Belgian added. Armstrong, who snubbed the 2009 route presentation ceremony, has committed to racing in the Giro d'Italia but his difficult relationship with Tour organisers and the French crowd has delayed his decision regarding that event.

"It is up to him to decide whether he wants to come or not," the Tour director Christian Prudhomme told reporters. "His return (on the Tour) would neither be a bad, nor a good thing. Of course he is a special character, but for the Tour he is a rider like others."

*Reuters