Tells magazine he will work with Bruyneel
In a statement released Tuesday afternoon and in an article published on VanityFair.com, Lance Armstrong confirmed VeloNews.com’s Monday report that he will return to professional road racing in 2009, including making a run at winning an eighth Tour de France.
“I am happy to announce that after talking with my children, my family and my closest friends, I have decided to return to professional cycling in order to raise awareness of the global cancer burden,” Armstrong said in a statement released Tuesday by the Lance Armstrong Foundation.
Armstrong also posted a video confirming the decision on the Livestrong.com Web site. He will hold a news conference Sept. 24 in New York City.
In the Vanity Fair article, author Douglas Brinkley said Armstrong told him that he’s “one hundred percent” going to compete in the Tour de France next summer and that his age — he turns 37 this month — will not be a factor.
“Look at the Olympics,” Armstrong told Brinkley. “You have a swimmer like Dara Torres. Even in the 50m event (freestyle), the 41-year-old mother proved you can do it. The woman who won the marathon (Constantina Tomescu-Dita, of Romania) was 38. Older athletes are performing very well. Ask serious sports physiologists and they’ll tell you age is a wives’ tale.”
Armstrong told Brinkley that he decided to return to racing after training and coming in second behind Dave Wiens at the Leadville 100 mountain bike race last month.
He said he will use his return to cycling as a way to spread his message about cancer. He also vowed to undergo one of the most vigorous testing regimes ever devised for an athlete.
“We’re going to be completely transparent and open with the press. This is for the world to see…. So there is a nice element here where I can come with a really completely comprehensive program and there will be no way to cheat.”
Armstrong told Vanity Fair his return to racing would be with a team run and managed by his former director sportif, Johan Bruyneel, who presently runs the Astana squad. Astana was barred from the 2008 Tour by Amaury Sport Organization in the wake of a series of doping incidents.
Asked Tuesday about the reports of Armstrong’s planned comeback, Bruyneel said he considered them only “a rumor.”
However, he seemed to leave a door open.
“If he were serious about a comeback … myself having a team I could not imagine him at CSC or Rabobank,” Bruyneel said.
And should ASO try to keep him out of the ’09 Tour, Armstrong said, he is already preparing a back-up plan — taking his case to French President Nicolas Sarkozy.
“I’ve already put a call in to him,” Armstrong said. “He has said strong things about me in the past.”
Lance’s Comeback to Cycling in 2009 — powered by http://www.livestrong.com