Become a Member

Get access to more than 30 brands, premium video, exclusive content, events, mapping, and more.

Already have an account? Sign In

Become a Member

Get access to more than 30 brands, premium video, exclusive content, events, mapping, and more.

Already have an account? Sign In

Brands

Road

After six, what’s next for Armstrong?

Lance Armstrong may have left the Tour de France with a record six victories under his belt, but the American has also left a huge question mark over his future participation in the race. Armstrong recently signed a contract to ride for a team which will be backed by the Discovery television channel following U.S. Postal's announcement last year they would not continue into 2005. For most teams sponsored by internationally recognized companies, the Tour de France is a must. However, it is not known what his new contract stipulates and whether or not Discovery has made the Tour de France one

Don't miss a moment from Paris-Roubaix and Unbound Gravel, to the Giro d’Italia, Tour de France, Vuelta a España, and everything in between when you join Outside+.

By Justin Davis, Copyright Agence France Presse 2004

More trips down the Champs-Élysées in Armstrong’s future?

Photo: AFP

Lance Armstrong may have left the Tour de France with a record six victories under his belt, but the American has also left a huge question mark over his future participation in the race.

Armstrong recently signed a contract to ride for a team which will be backed by the Discovery television channel following U.S. Postal’s announcement last year they would not continue into 2005.

For most teams sponsored by internationally recognized companies, the Tour de France is a must. However, it is not known what his new contract stipulates and whether or not Discovery has made the Tour de France one of their priorities.

For the moment, it seems possible that Armstrong may continue to ride for the team but not make the Tour de France one of his major ambitions of the season.

The 32-year-old American, who reiterates every year the huge sacrifices he makes to come to the Tour on winning form, has also admitted that staying away from his three children, and now his new partner Sheryl Crow, is something that is becoming more difficult.

A day before winning his record sixth Tour, he told AFP: “I still enjoy life, there are plenty of moments we let our hair down. But it’s true that my personal situation with my children in Texas and me in Europe is the hardest thing for me.

“In the spring I spend two months away, then spend a month at home and now it’s been three months and I’ll be home next week. This is what is unfortunately going to force me to change my schedule, because I refuse to do that again. My kids are three years old and five years old and in three months they change completely and I’m not prepared to do that again.”

Armstrong has been in spectacular form this year, and for many it would make no sense for him to stay away from the only race that matters to him, and to millions of Americans.

“Having said that, I think if a cyclist can adapt his schedule he can live in both continents and maintain a family life alongside his career. I’m going to have to try and do that more than I did this year.

“It’s simply too important for me, and I become desperate in the end because they’re (children) so far away.”

Armstrong said he had not yet gone through the finer details of his new contract with Discovery, who may well adapt their demands on him to whatever is offered by cycling’s new Pro Tour, a new international series whose aim is to maintain a quality field of teams and riders across 30 annual races.

“Regarding the contract, I don’t know exactly what it says. It’s all speculation on what races I’ll do,” said Armstrong. “I’ve said that I would like to do the Giro before I stop, and I stick by that. It’s a beautiful race. I’ve also said I would like to do the Worlds again, and the world hour record. There are a lot of things I would like to do. But I’m 33, and time’s running out. So I’m going to have to say, ‘woops, I didn’t do it’.”

U.S. Postal will quit the peloton at the end of the current season after being behind Armstrong since before he won his first Tour in 1999, only a year and a half after his spectacular recovery from cancer.

Armstrong’s team director Johan Bruyneel has also said that even he doesn’t know if the Texan will be gunning for a seventh victory next July. “Lance will still be riding in 2005, but his schedule hasn’t been ironed out yet. A lot of things can happen between now and then,” Bruyneel said.

One thing’s for sure. Armstrong still has the legs, and the heart for racing.

“For some reason I can’t explain, I’m enjoying the competition more than ever,” said the American. “Not to make history, not to make money – just for the thrill of getting on a bike and racing 200 other guys. I’m having more fun racing a bike than ever.”