Lance back at Tour 2006?
Lance Armstrong has announced his engagement to his girlfirend, with whom he has been living for 18 months, rock star Sheryl Crow. Armstrong asked the question during a holiday last week spent at Tom Weisel's house in Sun Valley, Idaho, where he also went out mountain biking every day. "We've told family and friends, stuff like that," he said, adding that he discussed the move with his three children beforehand. The wedding could take place in spring 2006.
The seven-times Tour de France winner has also been contemplating a possible come-back at the French Grand Tour 2006 although the Texan retired from the sport just a few weeks ago. "I'm thinking about it," Armstrong told The American Statesman's Suzanne Halliburton. "I'm thinking it's the best way to piss (the French) off," he added, in response to French newspaper L'Equipe, which reported on August 23 that it had proof that Armstrong used the banned drug EPO in the Tour 1999, the first Tour the American won.
Armstrong, who denies the allegation firmly, said he entertained the idea for the past two weeks, since the publication of the paper initialising the controversy. When asked how serious he was about another Tour, Armstrong said, "I'm exercising every day." Armstrong is still in good shape and will participate in the Tour Of Hope from September 29 to October 8, 2005. He will also be part of the Discovery Channel's first team training camp for next season in early December in Austin, Texas.
Cyclingnews reached Discovery Channel sports director Johan Bruyneel in his team car at the Vuelta a Espana and he told us that "Yes, the quote from Lance in the Austin American Statesman is certain. You know, we had some retirement parties in Nice after the Tour and then Lance went back to the States and took it easy for a few weeks. Then he called me three weeks later and said 'I'm back on the bike... I'm getting bored and missing the exercise, the riding'."
Bruyneel explained that "I'm not excluding a comeback by Lance for 2006, but can't confirm anything until I talk to him. But it's not impossible."
Cyclingnews coverage of the L'Equipe allegations
June 27, 2006 - Carmichael defends Armstrong, Armstrong answers L'Equipe & LeMond
June 26, 2006 - LeMond: "Armstrong threatened my life"
June 19, 2006 - Armstrong calls for Pound's exit
June 18, 2006 - Lance Armstrong's open letter against Dick Pound
June 4, 2006 - UCI hits back at WADA
June 3, 2006 - WADA slams the Vrijman report
June 2, 2006 - L'Equipe stands by its story, UCI supports Vrijman's findings
June 1, 2006 - UCI, WADA and Armstrong react to Vrijman's report
May 31, 2006 - UCI lawyer asks for Armstrong's name to be cleared
May 14, 2006 - Two more weeks for Armstrong investigation
Click here for full coverage of the L'Equipe allegations.