AUGUSTA, Ga. – Lance Armstrong is retiring after this year’s Tour de France, ending a cycling career in which he inspired millions by overcoming testicular cancer to win his sport’s signature event a record six straight times.
Armstrong said he remains “fully committed” to winning his seventh straight Tour de France this year and is driven “by that dream to go out on top. That’s a big deal to me.”
“It will be the last one, win or lose,” the 33-year-old Texan said at a news conference Monday.
The Tour de France ends July 24.
Armstrong said he began thinking about retirement after his victory last year. Spending a month away from his children recently helped to seal the decision.
“That was much more difficult than it had been before,” he said. “They are at a stage now where they change daily, if not hourly. … It’s time for me to not miss key moments in their lives.”
Speculation regarding Armstrong’s future had grown in recent months, fueled by the rider’s comments that he wanted to spend more time with his three children and step up his efforts in raising awareness and funds for fighting cancer.
“Ultimately, athletes have to retire … the body doesn’t just keep going and going,” Armstrong said.
But, Armstrong acknowledged, their competitiveness often does.
He said that while watching a recent cycling race on TV with his girlfriend, musician Sheryl Crow, he was so stirred by the competition, “I couldn’t sit down the entire race.”
Monday’s announcement came on the eve of Armstrong’s defense of his Tour of Georgia championship. The six-day, 648-mile event he uses as a training tool for the Tour de France begins today in Augusta.
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