RadioShack's Lance Armstrong looks back and ahead to 2010
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Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Armstrong looks back and ahead

by Bjorn Haake at 2:47 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling
 

Lance Armstrong entered the second season of his third comeback when he tackled the Cancer Council Helpline Classic on Sunday. His firm goal is the Tour de France victory in July. Before the Tour Down Under, Armstrong reflected on the differences to last year, to ten years ago and also gave an outlook on the 2010 season.

There is already a stark contrast to his debut in Australia 12 months ago. "I feel better than at the same time last year," he told French Eurosport. "We worked hard on Hawaii. I know I have some power, so that's why I attacked Sunday. I wanted to test myself and I wanted to test the others," the Texan said.

Armstrong was quite amazed at the Tour Down Under. "I didn't really follow it until I discovered it first-hand last year. Then there were a lot of good sprinters and certain teams were there to control the race. I think it will be the same this year. But we also saw that there can be a lot of wind on some days. If that's the case, it can open chances for the breaks or some kind of selection. You have to stay vigilant."

Despite not taking note until rather late, Armstrong is not surprised about the success of the Tour Down Under. "You know, it is not the same cycling as we know it from the times of Eddy Merckx, Bernard Hinault or even Miguel Indurain. Cycling has internationalized, it has become global. There are competitive teams forming in more and more countries, riders come from all over the place. It may be a surprise, to some and in a certain way it is even for me, but it is very good for our sport."

Ten years burning down the road

Armstrong had a simple answer on how his life differs between now and ten years ago - kids. "Ten years ago I had only one child, now I have four. Your professional life has to be organized differently when you have kids. Sometimes I have the impression that my line of work is as a chauffeur!

"The other difference is of course that I have won seven Tours de France. The Tour changed my life. It has become harder for me to quietly go shopping, to a bar or into a restaurant. But I am not complaining. I prefer my current life over that from ten years ago."

Quite focused this year

One thing that will change for this season is that his foundation - Livestrong - will take a back seat. "In certain moments I will still put in a lot of time, but in other periods, I will be more focused on the races, on my job. Finding a balance between the two is not easy. When you go to a Grand Tour, it is not easy to spend the days before the race in a tie and suit. I don't want to do that anymore."

Armstrong said that concentrating on the Tour does not make him the favorite, necessarily. "Well, first of all there is my age," the 38-year-old said. "Others are undoubtedly stronger than last year. I like to think I can get better results but you have to show it on the road."

Armstrong also said the expectations are higher this year. "It is different because the context is different, because the team is different. RadioShack is an American team and that changes things for me instead of being sponsored by a Kazakh team."

The Texan targets the Tour, but hopes to be in good shape more consistently throughout the year, compared with 2009. "It'd be great to be competitive in the spring or at the beginning of the summer." If the Cancer Council Helpline Classic is any indication he should have no trouble achieving this goal.

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