Although the rumors were already swirling about Lance Armstrong’s comback in late August, first revealed in an exclusive article in Vanity Fair by Armstrong’s Austin, Texas neighbor, historian and author Douglas Brinkley, the news broke like a bolt of lightning. Armstrong told Brinkley he had an epiphany in the Leadville 100 mountain bike race in Colorado. “It wasn’t a light bulb going off,” Armstrong explained, but his understanding and growing 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.” Lance Armstrong realized that he could win the Tour De France. Again. For the eighth time.
On Sept. 9, Armstrong released the following statement, saying “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. This year alone, nearly eight million people will die of cancer worldwide. Millions more will suffer in isolation, victims not only of the disease but of social stigma. After the passage of Proposition 15 in Texas, a $3 billion investment in the fight against cancer which is helping to make this disease part of the national dialogue in America, it's now time to address cancer on a global level."
Armstrong appeared on September 24th in New York City at the Clinton Global Initiative to discuss his global rollout of his Lance Armstrong Foundation’s LiveStrong initiative and then jetted to Las Vegas to compete in CrossVegas and for press conference, where he confirmed he will race for Team Astana in 2009. And his old nemesis, Jan Ullrich told German wire services “I think (Lance) could win the Tour again. He has a great life and great women, but that is not his calling. He has (his calling) in his sport,” said Ullrich “If he manages the challenge mentally, his body will also be up to it.”
Armstrong welcomes RBA to the final LiveStrong Challenge of 2008
Road Bike Action traveled to Dripping Springs, Texas for the final LiveStrong Challenge of 2008, where Lance Armstrong and thousands of his friends rode in the event. We learned one of Armstrong’s secrets last Sunday, as we rode on the same relentless roads of the Texas Hill Country where Armstrong has trained for almost two decades since he moved to Austin from his original Texas hometown in Plano. These Hill Country roads are twisty, heavy, technical and hilly up and down backcountry tracts, filled with cattle guards and low water crossings that test the legs and the mind at every turn. In the 90-mile LiveStrong Challenge, Armstrong and his 18 year old protégé Taylor Phinney rode away from an elite group of cyclists in the final 10 miles and afterwards, Road Bike Action sat down with Lance Armstrong for his first exclusive interview with a cycling publication since his comeback announcement.Road Bike Action:
Hey Lance, reports from out on the road at the Livestrong Challenge 90-mile ride say that your form is excellent and that you are just as strong as you ever were in your Tour De France days. Lance Armstrong:
Oh, I think that that little guy (Taylor Phinney) almost ripped my legs off today!
(Armstrong and Phinney rode away from an elite group of riders in the last 10 miles of the Livestrong Challenge 90 miler) But I feel pretty strong…RBA:
Are you lacking any endurance base after three years away from racing?LA:
Oh sure…I haven’t worked on any of that. I mean, the longest training I’ve done is four or five hours and I’ve only done a few of those so far. The thing I lack now, which I am not concerned about, nor is Chris (Carmichael) or Johan (Bruyneel) is endurance. And like today, there wasn’t really an endurance ride because it wasn’t that long, but when you feel that red zone, that red line…that’s another part of the engine you have to train. That stuff, endurance, threshold work and above threshold; it’s trainable and really not that long of a time (to do it). I’m more concerned with getting some good power work in, so I’ve been in the gym twice a week and also, just getting back on the bike with any number of things; getting in the rhythm of things, getting the position down; now there are a lot of details to get right…road position, tt position, equipment issues, shoes. There are some changes because I’m going from Dura-Ace to SRAM (Red), just going through all that. And just riding every day. >Next page