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
Tony has been editing cycling magazines and websites since 1997 starting out as production editor and then deputy editor of Total Bike, acting editor of Total Mountain Bike and then seven years as editor of Cycling Plus. He launched his first cycling website - the Cycling Plus Forum at the turn of the century. In 2006 he left C+ to head up the launch team for Bike Radar which he edited until 2008, when he co-launched the multi-award winning road.cc - which he continues to edit today. His favourite ride is his ‘commute’ - which he does most days inc weekends and he’s been cycle-commuting since 1994. His favourite bikes are titanium and have disc brakes.