Lance Armstrong has moved on to what he calls Retirement 2.0, officially announcing that he is stepping away from competitive cycling, this time for good. Armstrong road in his final race last month when he raced in the Tour Down Under, held annually in Australia. He finished 65th in his last hurray on the bike.
The rider’s legacy is of course well known. He battled back from cancer to not only ride again, but win an unprecedented seven straight Tour de France titles before going into retirement 1.0 back in 2005. In 2009 he came back out of retirement and has ridden well in a number of events, including Le Tour, but has never been as competitive as he was back in his prime. His career was also dogged by allegations of performance enhancing drug use, and although he has been tested hundreds of times, he has never tested positive for anything.
The announcement of his second retirement comes as no surprise. We always knew that Lance was committed to ride in the Tour Down Under again this year, but he also has said that he is finished with the Tour de France as well. It was just a matter of time before he made it official once again. He’ll now go on to focus on his Livestrong charitable foundation and other business ventures, while also preparing to face a possible Grand Jury investigating his use performance enhancing drugs while riding competitively.
Lance has always been a great ambassador for the sport, especially here in the U.S. where the majority of sports fans don’t care about cycling when he isn’t riding. Ratings numbers for the Tour de France with, and without him, have shown this to be true. Hopefully the general public will get past that and support a sport that has fantastic athletes and plenty of high drama, even when Lance isn’t riding.
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