Armstrong to stop in 2011
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Thursday, December 10, 2009

Armstrong to stop in 2011

by Bjorn Haake at 11:02 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling
 

Lance Armstrong has had two amazing comebacks to the sport of cycling, but 2011 will be the final chapter for the Texan. Two more seasons where he wants to become the oldest rider ever to win the Tour de France.

"At the end of the 2011 season I'll stop," he said to La Gazzetta dello Sport. He also re-iterated the fact that the team isn't built around him. Still, his goal is to win his eighth Tour de France within the next two years, with a little help from his friends. "This team is the strongest in the world," he said. "Eight of the nine Tour riders came over from Astana."

Since his debut in 1992, Armstrong won seven Tours de France and the World Championships on the road. Armstrong is 38 years old and would be the oldest rider to ever win the Tour. The current record holder is Firmin Lambot, who won his second Tour in 1922, at the age of 36.

Armstrong has just finished a training camp with his new RadioShack team in Tucson, Arizona, who along with long-time manager Johan Bruyneel has again assembled a formidable force for their assault on the 2010 Tour de France.

His program will again start with the Santos Tour Down Under in Australia, where the team will look to put Belgian Gert Steegmans in a winning position for the overall. But the team will have their work cut out for them come July, where defending Tour de France Champion Alberto Contador will look to beat the American on cycling's biggest stage once again.

Youngster Andy Schleck will also be a year wiser, and a year closer to his prime for the three week races.  The Luxemburger is tipped to one day win the Tour, and has shown in 2009 that he's likely to be the Spaniard's biggest threat.  Another development on the Tour de France front today was British Team Sky announcing the signing of Tour contender Bradley Wiggins.  The British rider also dreams of a podium finish in Paris, and will have the entire team at his disposal.  But along with the support from his team will come the weight of the British media on his shoulders.

However, it wouldn't be wise to play down Armstrong's chances for another win with his RadioShack team.  He has managed to bring on board the entire Astana Tour de France team from 2009, along with Bruyneel, who has shown he knows how to lead a Grand Tour campaign better than anyone.  With GC contenders in fellow American Levi Leipheimer and German Andreas Klöden on the team, the Belgian will have plenty of options to make Armstrong's bid for an eighth Tour a success.

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