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By Agence France Presse
President George W. Bush predicted Friday that he would win the November presidential election and that fellow Texan Lance Armstrong would pedal to a historic sixth victory in the Tour de France.
“He’s going to win, and I’m going to win. There’s no need to worry about either race anymore,” Bush told reporters after watching the race aboard Air Force One en route to Tampa, Florida.
White House spokesman Scott McClellan told reporters that Bush, who fell out sharply with France in the run-up to the war in Iraq, has been avidly watching the storied bicycling race.
“He has been trying to follow the Tour de France, and he certainly is pulling for Lance Armstrong to capture his sixth title. And so he has been watching it with great interest,” said McClellan.
Aides say that Bush, 58, turned to biking with a vengeance after a hurt knee forced him to cut back on his favorite exercise, jogging.
The president, who likes to tear across the dusty landscape of his Texas ranch on a mountain bike, had not been known to follow the Tour, even though Armstrong gave him a bike and a yellow leader’s jersey in August 2001.
His White House rival, Democratic Senator John Kerry, recently rode through his hometown of Boston on a red and yellow Serotta — on Bastille Day, no less.
The lawmaker, 60, reportedly fell from his bicycle in early May when he hit a sandy patch while riding with Secret Service agents in Concord, Massachusetts, but was not hurt.
The president’s own biking prowess was called into question when he tumbled from his mountain bike late that month, scraping his chin, upper lip, both knees, right hand and his nose.
White House spokesman Trent Duffy blamed loose topsoil for the spill, but also suggested that Bush had been riding hard, saying that “he wasn’t poking along, whistling show tunes.”
The New York Times has reported the Bush rides a Trek Fuel 90, which retails for around $1500 dollars, while Kerry likes a custom-built Serotta road bike, with a somewhat higher price tag.