Update: Sept. 9 — “It's true — Lance Armstrong to race in 2009″
I checked the date and it's not April 1st, so I'll pass along this report in VeloNews that Lance Armstrong will return to bicycle racing with Team Astana in 2009.
The anonymous sources told Neal Rogers of VeloNews that Armstrong will race at the Amgen Tour of California, Paris-Nice, the Tour de Georgia, the Dauphine-Libere and the Tour de France.
One of the few shreds of hard evidence in the report is the fact that Armstrong — who turns 37 on Sept. 18 — re-enrolled in the US Anti-Doping Agency's out-of-competition testing pool. Rules state that any athlete coming out of retirement must enroll in the USADA out of competition testing program at least six months before becoming eligible.
Armstrong who remained in shape by running marathons after his retirement in 2005, competed last month in the Leadville 100 mountain bike race, finishing second to Leadville's legend David Wiens.
Most everyone, including Armstrong and his publicist, are keeping mum about the reports until later this month when Armstrong is expected to make the disclosure in an article in Vanity Fair.
But the press flack for Astana, Philippe Maertens, says: “There are no contacts or plans of Team Astana to take Lance Armstrong. … If it would be true that Armstrong wants to come back it would be stupid for us to say no, but it's not the case.”
Armstrong retired from professional cycling in 2005 after winning the Tour de France for an unprecedented 7th straight time. He was a member of the Discovery Channel pro cycling team, which has since disbanded.
Although he's been missed by many cycling enthusiasts, it was cool how he retired at the top of his game. I wonder what he hopes to accomplish now? I can't see Armstrong rejoining the peloton with any other goal but to win.
For the full VeloNews article, see Sources: Lance Armstrong is coming back