Lance casts more doubt on Tour start

Although Lance Armstrong won't say for sure what his targets are for next season, one thing he has m

Although Lance Armstrong won’t say for sure what his targets are for next season, one thing he has m

PICTURE BY TIM DE WAELE Six-time Tour de France champion Lance Armstrong has said that he has no clear idea whether or not he will be at the start of next year’s Tour in the Vende. Speaking in an interview with L’Equipe this weekend, Armstrong said: “Honestly, I don’t know whether or not I will be at the Tour start.” Repeating his recent comments about the possibility of tackling new objectives, Armstrong added: “There are lots of things I would like to accomplish on the bike before retiring. So I am wondering whether 2005 might be the best moment to try to achieve those goals. “This year I have achieved a dream. I won a sixth Tour and I went down in history. Now is the time to look at something else.” What that something else may be, however, is not too clear either. Prior to his dominance at the Tour, the Texan was best known for his achievements in one-day races, notably the world road championship in 1993 and Flche Wallonne in 1996, and he indicated his future could lie in this direction. “My calendar won’t be 100 per cent decided at the start of the year,” he explained. “I prefer for it to be flexible so that I have the freedom to decide at any time on my participation in any race. If it is to be the Tour then I will decide when I want to. If it is to be Paris-Roubaix, then it will be the same process.” Armstrong affirmed that if he does miss next year’s Tour it will not be because of a lessening in his regard for the race. “I still love the Tour, for me it is the most important race in the world,” he said. “If I am not there next year it will not be because I am sanctioning the race nor its fans. They are the greatest.” Although Armstrong made no reference to the world hour record currently held by Britain’s Chris Boardman, it is believed that this is another of Armstrong’s objectives.