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Lance Armstrong retires from cycling

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Lance Armstrong (RadioShack).

Lance Armstrong (RadioShack).
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Lance Armstrong (RadioShack) with Alan Marangoni and Simone Ponzi (Liquigas-Cannondale).

Lance Armstrong (RadioShack) with Alan Marangoni and Simone Ponzi (Liquigas-Cannondale).
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Lance Armstrong (RadioShack) at the end of the Tour Down Under.

Lance Armstrong (RadioShack) at the end of the Tour Down Under.
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Cool as a cucumber: Alberto Contador (Astana) speaks to Lance Armstrong (Astana) on the way up Mont Ventoux

Cool as a cucumber: Alberto Contador (Astana) speaks to Lance Armstrong (Astana) on the way up Mont Ventoux
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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No doubt conscious of the atrocious weather conditions at the start of Stage 3, Lance Armstrong (Astana) left it until the very last minute to make his way from the Astana team bus to the start line.

No doubt conscious of the atrocious weather conditions at the start of Stage 3, Lance Armstrong (Astana) left it until the very last minute to make his way from the Astana team bus to the start line.
(Image credit: Stephen McMahon/st.mcmahon@gmail.com)
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Race leader Mark Cavendish (Team Columbia - Highroad) and Lance Armstrong (Astana) have a chat during stage three.

Race leader Mark Cavendish (Team Columbia - Highroad) and Lance Armstrong (Astana) have a chat during stage three.
(Image credit: Sirotti)
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American Lance Armstrong (Astana) is back in Europe at the Milano-Sanremo.

American Lance Armstrong (Astana) is back in Europe at the Milano-Sanremo.
(Image credit: Sirotti)
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Andy Schleck (Saxo Bank), Alberto Contador (Astana) and Lance Armstrong (Astana) await the Spanish national anthem

Andy Schleck (Saxo Bank), Alberto Contador (Astana) and Lance Armstrong (Astana) await the Spanish national anthem
(Image credit: Sirotti)
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Lance Armstrong (Astana) leads teammate Alberto Contador.

Lance Armstrong (Astana) leads teammate Alberto Contador.
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Lance Armstrong (Astana) at the head of a chasing group in Tour de France stage seven

Lance Armstrong (Astana) at the head of a chasing group in Tour de France stage seven
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Lance Armstrong and Floyd Landis on the US Postal team

Lance Armstrong and Floyd Landis on the US Postal team
(Image credit: AFP Photo)
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Lance Armstrong (US Postal Service/Berry Floor)

Lance Armstrong (US Postal Service/Berry Floor)
(Image credit: Jon Devich)
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Jon Vaughters & Lance Armstrong just before the 1999 Tour

Jon Vaughters & Lance Armstrong just before the 1999 Tour
(Image credit: AFP)
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"How can I possibly be the favourite"

"How can I possibly be the favourite"
(Image credit: CN)
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Lance Armstrong responds to the allegations made by his former US Postal Service teammate Floyd Landis

Lance Armstrong responds to the allegations made by his former US Postal Service teammate Floyd Landis
(Image credit: Jonathan Devich)
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The Texan signed autographs for the tifosi

The Texan signed autographs for the tifosi
(Image credit: Sirotti)
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Relaxing in yellow before a stage start in the 1999 Tour de France

Relaxing in yellow before a stage start in the 1999 Tour de France
(Image credit: AFP Photo)
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Could Armstrong's 1999 Tour victory

Could Armstrong's 1999 Tour victory
(Image credit: AFP)
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Race leader Lance Armstrong and Marco Pantani approach the Mont Ventoux summit finish in the 2000 Tour de France.

Race leader Lance Armstrong and Marco Pantani approach the Mont Ventoux summit finish in the 2000 Tour de France.
(Image credit: Sirotti)
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The decisive moment of the 2001 Tour de France on Alpe d'Huez.

The decisive moment of the 2001 Tour de France on Alpe d'Huez.
(Image credit: AFP)
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Lance Armstrong wins the mountain finish at La Mongie in the 2002 Tour de France.

Lance Armstrong wins the mountain finish at La Mongie in the 2002 Tour de France.
(Image credit: Fotoreporter Sirotti)
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Jan Ullrich leads Lance Armstrong during the 2003 Tour de France

Jan Ullrich leads Lance Armstrong during the 2003 Tour de France
(Image credit: olympic photo)
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Six down; one to go - Lance Armstrong in yellow after the final stage of the 2004 Tour de France

Six down; one to go - Lance Armstrong in yellow after the final stage of the 2004 Tour de France
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Lance Armstrong diverted the attention to 2009 Tour of California winner Levi Leipheimer

Lance Armstrong diverted the attention to 2009 Tour of California winner Levi Leipheimer
(Image credit: Emory Ball)

Lance Armstrong (RadioShack) has announced his retirement from professional cycling, calling time on a career that had become increasingly mired in controversy. The RadioShack rider had been pencilled in to take part in a number of events on the US calendar in 2011, but it now appears that January’s Santos Tour Down Under was his final competitive race.

Armstrong revealed his decision in an interview with The Associated Press on Wednesday in Austin, Texas. He insisted he had no regrets about his decision to return to the sport in late 2008, in spite of his failure to win an 8th Tour de France and the allegations of doping in his former US Postal Service team that surfaced in 2010.

“I can’t say I have any regrets. It’s been an excellent ride. I really thought I was going to win another Tour,” Armstrong told AP. “Then I lined up like everybody else and wound up third.”

Armstrong swapped Astana for the new RadioShack team ahead of the 2010 season but he endured a torrid time last July, ultimately finishing in 23rd place.

“I have no regrets about last year, either,” he said. “The crashes, the problems with the bike - those were things that were beyond my control.”

Armstrong’s final months in the peloton have been dominated by allegations of systematic doping in his former US Postal team. The matter is currently being investigated by FDA special agent Jeff Novitzky and fresh allegations of impropriety surfaced in Sports Illustrated in January.

“I can’t control what goes on in regards to the investigation,” Armstrong said. “That’s why I hire people to help me with that. I try not to let it bother me and just keep rolling right along. I know what I know. I know what I do and I know what I did. That’s not going to change.”

Armstrong leaves the sport a controversial and divisive figure. Although his seven Tour de France victories constitute a record, his career was consistently dogged by allegations of doping. He also clashed publicly with a number of his peers, including Christophe Bassons at the 1999 Tour and Filippo Simeoni in 2004.

“We knew we’d be able to have some impact, but we didn’t know we’d pick up so much momentum,” he said.

In his retirement, Armstrong seems set to focus his energies on his Livestrong foundation and he appeared to distance himself from the possibility of entering into the world of politics.