By Agence France Presse

Now that his cycling career is over, Armstrong just wants to relax
Now that his cycling career is over, Armstrong just wants to relax

Photo: AFP

Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong on Sunday dismissed reports that might enter politics by running for governor of Texas.

Shortly after winning his record seventh Tour last month, the cyclist told Outside magazine that he might consider a run for governor of his home state after 2006.

But he downplayed the statement as “more or less a joke” in an interview with ABC television.

“The biggest problem with politics or running for the governor … here in Austin or in Texas is that it would mimic exactly what I’ve done: a ton of stress and a ton of time away from my kids.

“Why would I want to go from pro-cycling, which is stressful and a lot of time away, straight into politics?”

Armstrong said that retirement had brought him a lot of freedom.

“It’s new. It’s fresh. Oddly enough, I feel free,” he said. In past years he said, “three weeks after the Tour, I was already worried about the next Tour. If I miss a day, then I have to make it up with two days. And just always worrying about the next year.”

He is still intrigued enough by politics to have invited Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry to his Paris retirement party and to keep company with U.S. President George W. Bush.

“Next Saturday I’m going to Crawford to ride mountain bikes with the president,” he said. “Now that the president doesn’t run anymore, he rides his mountain bike – fanatically. I mean, people wonder why he stays at the ranch so long. It might be the mountain bike trails he has there,” said Armstrong. “I know people that have ridden with him. And I can tell you, he’s one competitive dude.”