Bruyneel: "He has another Tour in his legs yet"
Fuelling speculation on the 'will he or won't he?' scenario is confirmation that Lance Armstrong will rejoin his team-mates in a little over two months' time for the first of Discovery Channel's team training camps in Austin, Texas.
"Lance has obviously been there every year. Whether this occurred or not, he was most likely going to ride with our team anyway at that camp," team manager Dan Osipow told Reuters yesterday. "Perhaps now he may ride with a bit more vigour and take it a little differently than perhaps a retired athlete would."
"I think he's been very offended," added team manager Johan Bruyneel to the Associated Press on the L'Equipe allegations. "If you know him he doesn't need a lot to find some motivation. I think it woke up the competitive side of him."
If past experience is anything to go by, it's hard to see Armstrong riding around his hometown 'like a retired athlete', complaining of the heat, asking his team-mates to slow down on a training ride in front of his sponsors, or worse still, being dropped. Recent allegations questioning his merit in winning the 1999 Tour de France will have no doubt spurred the immensely proud Texan to train even harder, and if he comes out of the camp rejuvenated and remotivated, who knows?
"Does he take the camp the way he has the last handful of years or is he there just to stay fit and healthy?" asked Osipow. "Obviously it depends on where we are in December... how he takes the camp."
Added Bruyneel: "I'm sure he could win [another Tour]. "The way he won this year... everything pretty much under control and he never showed any weakness. He has another Tour in his legs yet."