Lance Armstrong has announced his retirement from professional cycling. He had been pencilled in to take part in events on the American calendar in 2011, but it now appears that January’s Santos Tour Down Under was his final competitive appearance.
Armstrong revealed his decision in an interview with The Associated Press on Wednesday in Austin, Texas. He insisted he had no regrets about his decision to return to the sport in late 2008, in spite of his failure to win an 8th Tour de France and the allegations of doping in his former US Postal Service team that surfaced in 2010.
“I can’t say I have any regrets. It’s been an excellent ride. I really thought I was going to win another Tour,” Armstrong told AP. “Then I lined up like everybody else and wound up third.
“I have no regrets about last year, either. The crashes, the problems with the bike - those were things that were beyond my control.”
Armstrong leaves the sport a controversial and divisive figure. His last months in cycling have been dominated by allegations of systematic doping in his former US Postal team, which are currently being investigated by FDA special agent Jeff Novitzky.
“I can’t control what goes on in regards to the investigation,” Armstrong said. “That’s why I hire people to help me with that. I try not to let it bother me and just keep rolling right along. I know what I know. I know what I do and I know what I did. That’s not going to change.”
Armstrong confirmed that unlike in 2005, this second retirement is definitive.
“Never say never,” he told AP, before adding, “Just kidding.”
Lance Armstrong factfile
Date of birth: September 18, 1971
Place of birth: Dallas (Texas)
Height: 1.77 m
Weight: 72 kg
Tour de France 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005
Tour of Switzerland (2001), Dauphine Libere (2002, 2003)
Tour of Luxembourg (1998), Midi Libre (2002)
Tour de France: 11 participations, 7 wins, 22 individual stage wins
World championship road race crown 1993
United States road race crown 1993
Clasica San Sebastian 1995, Fleche Wallonne 1996
Teams: Motorola (August 1992 - 1996), Cofidis (1997), US Postal (1998 - 2004), Discovery Channel (2005), Astana (2009), RadioShack (2010)