September 09, 2008

Lance Armstrong to return to pro cycling: Armstrong, who will turn 37 on September 18, cited 41-year-old US swimmer Dara Torres's Olympic comeback in Beijing as proof that age was no barrier to an elite sports career.

posted by Amateur to other at 06:19 PM - 17 comments

The politics of this are what's interesting: Astana was left out of the TdF this year, as a knock-on from the 2007 doping scandals. This is insurance against ASO next year.

My guess is that Armstrong's doing this partly as a favour to Bruyneel, but also because he's bored. And my prediction is that the other teams will try and ride him into the road. This year felt like the arrival of a new generation of riders, and there'll be a lot of people wanting his scalp.

posted by etagloh at 06:33 PM on September 09, 2008

Lance needs to put the PR cancer kudo behind him just as John McCain does his PR POW...they're old news and boring...Oh look it's testicular cancer Lance and exPOW John...

posted by OahuMonk at 07:19 PM on September 09, 2008

I agree that the "I have decided to return to professional cycling in order to raise awareness of the global cancer burden" rings pretty hollow. There are surely other motivations as well.

posted by Amateur at 07:39 PM on September 09, 2008

The "Lance thing" is over. See: Jordan,M., Ali,M. , Clemens,R. , Bonds,B. , Favre,B. . I need another Lance Armstrong race like I need another hole in my head. Know when to stay retired! He says he wants to raise awareness for cancer, I say he is just trying to make bucks and stay in current events news. His spending habits are high with his new Hollywood lifestyle and his cash is running low with all his young women he is trying to get. He is just trying to get back in the news so he can bang another young 21 year old Movie Star Wanna-Be. Maybe his eye is now on Hannah Montana/ Miley Cyrus. He needs to stay in the game long enough for her to turn 18.

posted by JohnnyBallsack at 12:28 AM on September 10, 2008

He'll be back. He just needs to find the box he put his steroids in in the attic.

posted by Drood at 01:36 AM on September 10, 2008

Calling all steroid experts - what benefit, if any, could be derived from three years away from testing? Could he have loaded up on something, put the miles in his legs, then cleaned up and come back? Or am I reading too many conspiracy theories again?

It's odd that this was the first thing I wondered when I heard about the comeback, given that I'm a big fan of Lance and the kind of thing Drood just said used to send me off on rants about how he was the most tested son of a bitch on the planet (Armstrong, not Drood) and never got caught, so the most likely explination is that he wasn't doping.

It was bad enough to discover that "the look" wasn't a look at all. I'm not sure I want to see him either flog himself to pieces and fail (anything less than victory would be failure), turn up to make up the numbers and bleat on about how he "beat" cancer (or, as most people would have it, "got lucky"), or, worst of all, turn up, do well, then test positive and ruin all my sporting recollections of him.

What a story it will make if he wins it though...

posted by JJ at 06:03 AM on September 10, 2008

Why come back and put yourself through all that speculation again? Crazy! And from what I heard it's not about the money, he's not taking any. I would like to see him race again, but only if he is in top condition. I agree with JJ anything less would be sad.

posted by lil'red at 08:25 AM on September 10, 2008

Thanks for nothing, JJ. I liked the story of "the look" much better than the truth.

posted by bperk at 09:31 AM on September 10, 2008

Me too, bprek. As Phil Liggett said: "You've just ruined my life."

posted by JJ at 09:33 AM on September 10, 2008

Just to reiterate the point about politics: if the rumours are right about Armstrong riding for Astana and doing Paris-Nice and the Dauphin, then my thinking's simple: ASO really would like to keep Astana out of the Tour in 2009, and Patrice Clerc will have trouble doing so if Armstrong's on the squad.

posted by etagloh at 10:37 AM on September 10, 2008

I just don't understand the motivation for this. I don't buy argument money is issue - the guy is still pulling in millions a year in endorsements. And I think while cancer publicity is clearly something extremely important to him, there would seem to be easier ways to get that message out.

I think it all boils down to his need for competition plus still having a chip on his shoulder with anyone who doubts him. TdF Director Christian Prudhomme has already said Lance is welcome back provided he and his team complies with drug testing regulations.

My guess is barring injury, he's going to be riding TdF next year. He usually follows through on anything he announces publicly. I wouldn't bet against him winning #8, but it is a very high risk move on his part. I'd put his biggest competition as Alberto Contador - if he signs on with Astana (which is likely), he'll have neutralized him. But there's still a lot of things that can go wrong to derail what looks like a sure thing TdF win - just ask Cadel Evans.

posted by BikeNut at 12:15 PM on September 10, 2008

I suspect at least some of you who are pissing in the punchbowl over Lance's stated reason for returning to professional cycling are unaware of the existence of this organization.

posted by lil_brown_bat at 03:03 PM on September 10, 2008

It's not cancer awareness, missing the spotlight, or the need for competition. Whenever a man does something incredibly stupid (and I think this is), there is only one question to ask.

Who is she?

In July Lance broke up with Kate Hudson. In my 20's I made some pretty stupid life decisions right after breakups. Of course, Lance is older than that, but I wasn't breaking up with Kate Hudson either, or, for that matter, Sheryl Crow. (Oh, dear sweet Jesus God, Sheryl Crow. I'm surprised he didn't sign up for the Peace Corps after that one.)

posted by gradioc at 06:49 PM on September 10, 2008

I get that he's doing good work for cancer, lbb. I just don't see why that requires a cycling comeback. Really one has nothing to do with the other.

posted by Amateur at 09:00 PM on September 10, 2008

Why is everybody so negative? He is 37 and considered over the hill for bicycling.More power to him.

posted by Doehead at 09:38 AM on September 11, 2008

I get that he's doing good work for cancer, lbb. I just don't see why that requires a cycling comeback. Really one has nothing to do with the other.

I don't see how you can assume that. He's spent a wee bit more time on the problem than you or me, and it's possible that he has has noticed that his ability to attract donations and attention has declined since he retired from competitive cycling.

posted by lil_brown_bat at 11:09 AM on September 11, 2008

I'm with llb on this one. Armstrong, as an athlete, will always have his popularity, and thus his influence in the US to effect medical progress, tied to cycling. Obviously, one day he will make a mockery of himself if he keeps going, but since he has won multiple times, i would think that he has a better feel for what it takes to succeed than any of us do.

posted by brainofdtrain at 01:20 PM on September 12, 2008

You're not logged in. Please log in or register.