Armstrong seeking rest

The months following his retirement as a professional cyclist at the end of July have been anything...

The months following his retirement as a professional cyclist at the end of July have been anything but restful for Lance Armstrong. In the second part of his interview with De Telegraaf, the Texan explained that he is still craving more time with his family and partner Sheryl Crow.

"This is not a life," said Armstrong. "On the Champs Elysées, I promised those closest to me that the coming months would be calm. Alas, nothing came of that. From Paris I went with Sheryl and the kids for a week to the Côte d'Azur, where we spent a lot of time with U2 singer Bono. Then we spent a couple of days relaxed in New York. From that time on, I haven't known a moment's rest."

In the meantime, Armstrong has been busy giving talks for his cancer foundation, doing TV spots, discussing a movie project, spending time with the Discovery Channel team, and more. "I'm a lot busier now than when I was a cyclist," Armstrong continued. "Actually the life of a rider is relatively simple. When you are training hard in the lead up to a race, everyone knows that you need rest. Since I retired, everyone has assumed that I have spare time. It's not a fair game."

Armstrong admitted that he is "bad at saying no," but realises he'll have to change his 'go-go' philosophy if he is to find the space he seeks. "No-one will say on their deathbed, 'If only I'd worked a bit more'. Everyone says 'If only I'd had taken more holidays, paid more attention to my kids, and made just a bit more time for my hobbies.' Yes, I'm annoyed that I think too little of myself. I still haven't found any rest."

Rest also means that he has not had any time to do much sport, and his post-career ambitions of doing other sports have been very much put on hold. "Since the Tour I've done barely a thousand kilometres on the bike. I don't dare to step on the scales any more. I love sport, but I realise that I can't do competitive sport any more. Earlier I dreamed of the Iron Man or Race Across America. But when I realise how many hours of training that involves, I can't think of it any more."

Armstrong said that his seven Tour victories gave his cancer support work a lot more impact in America than if he hadn't won any. "I'm happy that I now mean so much to the community."

As far as his cycling career goes, Armstrong described himself as a "...satisfied man. I got the last laugh. I've closed the chapter on cycling for a long time already. I did my job, worked harder than the rest, was smarter and had a better team. Now it's over. I'm only obliged to look back because of the bullshit stories in L'Equipe. And I realise that I can be proud. It was a fantastic time. Much better than I ever dreamed. I was professional for 14 years and my career had two distance parts. Part A, before cancer, was already better than I ever thought. I was World Champion, won classics and stages in the Tour. And after my sickness, the seven Tour victories followed. Amazing. With these wins I created a platform that I can use until I die."

Armstrong is still in regular contact with his former mentor and manager of the Discovery Team Johan Bruyneel, and he keeps up to date with the news. As for his future, besides being a good father to his kids, he isn't sure. The Governor of Texas option is probably out of the question, at least for the foreseeable future. "Hmm, you can never say never. I don't know if it's beyond me. If you choose for a party in politics, you know that the rest will shoot at you. You have to endure a lot of criticism. The bullshit from L'Equipe is just a diet cola compared to a stiff vodka that I would get by choosing a political career. People will be against you for the political decisions that you have to make. In my fight against cancer, I want to be there for everyone. So, my ambitions probably lie elsewhere. But I might think about differently in 10 years."

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