Tour de France news: Lance Armstrong’s final Tour

Also Oscar Pereiro retiring; Riccardo Ricco given suspended jail term

Seven-time Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong announced on his Twitter page on Monday that this year’s Tour with his RadioShack teammates will his final one.


“And yes, this will be final Tour de France. It’s been a great ride. Looking forward to three great weeks,” the 38-year-old American wrote.

Realizing his tweet included several mistakes Armstrong then re-tweeted, “Doh, sorry, meant “my” final Tour.”

On Saturday in Belgium, Armstrong will lead team RadioShack to begin his bid for an eighth Tour de France title.

Monday’s announcement comes just one month after the Texan found himself embroiled in new doping allegations, dismissing accusations levelled by his former teammate Floyd Landis.

Landis, who was stripped of his 2006 Tour de France title after a positive drug test, pointed the finger at numerous cyclists, including Armstrong, and said that doping was intrinsic at the elite level of the sport. Armstrong was quick to attack Landis’ credibility.

Armstrong successfully beat cancer in 1998 to go on and win seven consecutive yellow jerseys from the world’s toughest bike race in 1999-2005. He returned to the sport last year after a three-year ‘retirement’.

Armstrong placed third at the 2009 Tour race and this year he finished second in the Tour of Switzerland and third in the Tour of Luxembourg. He crashed out of the Tour of California on home soil in May.

Armstrong will line up at this year’s race in a team which includes former Tour runner-up Andreas Klöden of Germany, and American Levi Leipheimer among other experienced stage race campaigners.

Oscar Pereiro to retire after Tour of Spain

Oscar pereiro, winner of the tour in 2006, will quit cycling after the tour of spain this september:
AFP/Getty Images

Spanish rider Oscar Pereiro, the 2006 Tour de France champion, announced Tuesday that he will retire after the Tour of Spain in September.

“People should know when it’s time to call it a day and it’s clear to me that it’s time to close this chapter in my life,” said the 32-year-old.

Pereiro said that he made his decision when he learnt he would not be part of the Astana team on the Tour de France which gets underway in Rotterdam on Saturday.

He started his professional career in 2000 with the Porta da Ravessa team, and also competed with Phonak (2003-2005), Caisse d’Epargne (2006-2009) and finally Astana.

The Spaniard’s biggest victory came when he was awarded the 2006 Tour de France after America’s Floyd Landis had his victory in the race overturned due to doping violations.

Ricco gets suspended jail term, fine for doping

Riccardo ricco with a french gendarme during the 2008 tour de france:
AFP/Getty Images

A French court on Tuesday handed Italian cyclist Riccardo Ricco a two-month suspended jail term and a 3,000 euros (3,660 dollars) fine for doping during the 2008 Tour de France.

Ricco was kicked off the Tour that year after testing positive following the fourth stage time-trial for the banned blood-booster EPO.

He was sacked by his team Saunier-Duval and also banned from racing for 20 months.

Ricco, 26, who did not attend the court hearing, was also ordered to pay 3,000 euros in damages to the French cycling federation.

The court rejected his lawyers petition that the case be dismissed based on the argument that he had already been fined 5,710 euros for the offense by an Italian court in February.

Ricco was arrested by police in the middle of the 2008 tour after investigators found drugs and drug paraphernalia in his luggage.


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