THOUSAND OAKS - Lance Armstrong said on Saturday that he was "devasted" to hear the news that ex-girlfriend Sheryl Crow is suffering from breast cancer. The seven-time Tour de France champion issued the statement before guesting in the Discovery Channel team car on stage six of the Tour of California between Santa Barbara and Thousand Oaks.
Armstrong had apparently arrived in Santa Barbara on Friday evening, when he dined with UCI president Pat McQuaid. This morning he was besieged by autograph-hunters as he made the short journey from the Discovery Channel "battle bus" to Johan Bruyneel's team car, but otherwise kept a low profile.
Having undergone surgery last Wednesday, Crow has been given an "excellent" prognosis by doctors. In his statement this morning, Armstrong said that he was confident she would enjoy "a full and complete recovery".
"Once again I'm reminded of just how pervasive this illness is as it has now touched someone I love deeply," said Armstrong, who announced that he and Crow were breaking off their engagement earlier this month.
The Lance Armstrong Foundation, set up by Armstrong after his successful battle with testicular cancer, also expressed its support in a statement: "The staff of the Lance Armstrong Foundation has tremendous admiration and respect for Sheryl. Her generosity and enthusiastic support for the LAF and thus millions of cancer survivors demonstrate the LIVESTRONG philosophy.
"Sheryl's warmth and compassion for people with cancer is always evident," the statement went on. "If only a fraction of the energy and determination she directed towards our cause benefits her in the days to come, then her cancer will be no match for her spirit."