After finally getting a stage win in this Tour de France with victory in the 20th stage, Lance Armstrong has the general classification sewn up. He will wear the leader's yellow jersey into Paris tomorrow and step down from the podium as a civilian. He's looking forward to it. Tim Maloney, European Editor reports from Saint Etienne.
In his final Tour de France press conference, Lance Armstrong met with the assembled media on the eve of his final professional race Sunday, the 21st stage of the 92nd Tour de France. Fresh from his ninth Tour de France time trial stage win since 1999, Armstrong said, "Quite honestly, I wasn't absolutely sure I could (win today)...I thought Jan (Ullrich) would be strong, and then when I got to the first time check (after 17km), I saw that Ivan (Basso) was seven seconds up and I thought 'Oh boy, this could be an interesting day."
Armstrong added, "I ended up turning things around and winning. So, pleasant surprise."
Looking at the penultimate win of his fourteen year pro career, Armstrong said, "It's nice to finish your career on a high note. As a sportsman, I wanted to go out on top."
One key motivation for the almost seven time Tour winner is having his three kids there to see their dad. "It was a dream for me," he explained. "I wanted to ride in today and ride into Paris in yellow for them," Armstrong added. But Lance isn't looking back; he's looking forward to Monday, when his vacation starts. "We're going to fly to the south of France and go to the beach for a week, and play with the kids on the beach and drink wine and eat lots of food," said Armstrong. "This job is stressful, and this race is stressful, so hopefully the next week will be a preview of what my life will be like for the next 50 years, although I can't promise I won't show up at a few cyclo-cross events or mountain bike or triathlon races. I'm an athlete. I've been competing in swimming and running events since I was 12 years old."
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