To read the full article, please visit:
In a VF.com exclusive, Lance Armstrong tells historian and Vanity Fair contributor Douglas Brinkley that he’s “one hundred percent” going to compete in the Tour de France next summer. “I’m going back to professional cycling. I’m going to try and win an eighth Tour de France,” the anti-cancer crusader and seven-time Tour winner says.
Armstrong also discusses doping, dating, politics (including a possible run for the Texas statehouse), George Bush, Bill Clinton, the French, and the next phase in his war on a global epidemic.
“Look at the Olympics. You have a swimmer like Dara Torres. Even in the 50m event [freestyle], the 41-year-old mother proved you can do it,” Armstrong says. “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.”
“Ultimately, I’m the guy that gets up,” the soon-to-be 37 year old tells Brinkley. “I mean I get up out of bed a little slow. I mean I’m not going to lie. I mean my back gets tired quicker than it used to and I get out of bed a little slower than I used to. But when I’m going, when I’m on the bike I feel just as good as I did before.”
The decision to compete in the Tour de France again came a month ago today, Armstrong tells Brinkley, thanks to an epiphany he had while competing in a race in Leadville, Colorado. “It wasn’t a light bulb going off,” says Armstrong, but a realization, combined with the gradual frustration “with the rhetoric coming out of the Tour de France. Not just the Tour on TV, but the domestic press, the international press, the pace, the speeds at which participants rode. It’s not a secret. I mean, the
pace was slow.”
He’s using his cycling as a way to continue to spread his message about cancer—“the constituency that I represent is now cancer survivors,” he says—and also as a way to silence his critics. Brinkley reports that Armstrong has vowed to create a comprehensive anti-doping protocol and 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.”
If for some strange reason the ASO (Amaury Sport Organisation, the governing body that oversees the Tour) doesn’t invite Armstrong to the Tour de France, he plans on pleading his case directly to French president, Nicolas Sarkozy. “I’ve already put a call in to him,” Armstrong tells Brinkley. “Look it up. He’s said strong things about me in the past.”
Armstrong says he consulted his mother and his ex-wife before making his decision. When asked whether he’d told his ex-fiancée Sheryl Crow about the Tour, he responds with laughter. “Nooo,” he says. “We don’t talk too much.”