Official: Lance Armstrong says he is coming back

There may be no news about his racing program or even the team he will ride for, but Lance Armstrong is back! The rumours that swept Eurobike of an improbable return to racing for the man who dominated it for most of the last decade were confirmed late on Tuesday when Armstrong announced, in an exclusive interview with Vanity Fair, that he was to come out of retirement. He said: "I'm happy to announce that after talking with my children, family and closest friends, I have decided to return to professional cycling. "It is in order to raise awareness of the global cancer burden." He added: "This year alone, nearly eight million people will die of cancer worldwide. It's now time to address cancer on a global level." Despite winning the Tour himself seven years on the trot Armstrong's most notable achievement was his victory over testicular cancer in the mid-Nineties, within a year of which he went on to win his first Tour de France. Although rumours of his comeback were heavily discounted by his former team, now racing under the Astana banner, speaking earlier in the day on BBC Radio 5 Live, Phil Liggett predicted his return citing Armstrong's need for further challenges and the fact that he turned in a creditable second place in the recent Leadville 100 mountain bike race. How the powers that be at the Tour de France will react to the return of the man who dominated their race for so long should be interesting, Tour organisers, ASO, could best be described as having a love/hate relationship with the Texan with the emphasis certainly towards the latter in the years since his retirement. However Armstrong is undeniably a great box office draw and while the the Tour has tried to move on, and has done a massive amount to root out the dopers and cheats it has undeniably been tarnished by the scandals that have dogged it in the post-Armstrong era. So maybe they will find a way to make their peace with the great man. If Armstrong does race for the Astana team that will be interesting too following their very public snubbing by the Tour organisers who excluded them from this year's race in a move interpreted in some quarters as a practical demonstration of revenge being served cold. Can he win? Well he wouldn't be doing it if he didn't think he could, in his favour this year's was a pretty slow race and no-one has emerged since his retirement to dominate the greatest of all races like he did. On the other hand, ASO, under new Tour Directeur, Christian Prudhomme, has moved to dramatically change the structure of the race - changes which may not suit Lance. We'll see. Whatever his race schedule and whoever he rides for, one thing can be certain things are going to get very interesting from here on in, and if or, as seem more likely now, when he lines up at next year's start he will be there to win. Lance doesn't do "first loser". Except in mountain bike races. To read the full text of Lance Armstrong's interview with Vanity Fair click here http://www.vanityfair.com/culture/features/2008/09/armstrong200809

Plucked from the obscurity of his London commute back in the mid-Nineties to live in Bath and edit bike mags our man made the jump to the interweb back in 2006 as launch editor of a large cycling website somewhat confusingly named after a piece of navigational equipment. He came up with the idea for road.cc mainly to avoid being told what to do… Oh dear, issues there then. Tony tries to ride his bike every day and if he doesn't he gets grumpy, he likes carbon, but owns steel, and wants titanium. When not on his bike or eating cake Tony spends his time looking for new ways to annoy the road.cc team. He's remarkably good at it.