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No going back for Armstrong

For another famous Armstrong retirement from cycling proved short-lived. But Kristin Armstrong, who will bow out of the sport after Saturday's women's road race as world and Olympic time trial champion, insists that her mind is made up.

"It's amazing," said the 36-year old, "but a lot of people out there still think that, come Saturday, my mind will switch. I keep telling them, ‘no, it's not going to switch.'

"But I just want to focus on Saturday," she added, "because it's not over. I've achieved my individual goals, I've come out on top, but don't count the American team out. We're ready."

In her seven years on the national team Armstrong says that the team for Saturday's road race is the strongest ever. "I'm really looking forward to it," she said. "The team has been coming together, it's the best we've had, and it's going to be amazing."

In retirement she will turn her attention to assisting American women, especially juniors. "I'll be helping young US riders come up in the sport, starting with riders at a younger age, and helping them come over to Europe at an earlier age," she said. "I'll be directing a team in America at larger US races, and the same athletes will come over to Europe and race with the US national team.

"I also want to do some [training] camps," she continued. "I opened the Kristin Armstrong Academy [a training initiative aimed at female riders aged 15-18]. I'm not ready to come back and work full time as a [team] director, but I wanted to give something back to the sport and enjoy some time at home. I'm really excited to have some time - I got some golf clubs for Christmas last year."

"I have a love-hate relationship with the travel," she added. "I think I'll miss travelling over here in Europe, and I'm going to miss the friends I have, and of course I have competitive blood. I'm going to miss the competition. I think it's something that is going to hit me. I know that come March, it's going to be hard."

She will not return to triathlon, she added. But - a little like her namesake, Lance, who took up marathon running after 'retiring' in 2005 - she did leave open the possibility that she will find some outlet for her competitive blood. "I love to Nordic ski, and I got a new mountain bike for my birthday. I'll always have fitness goals, but who knows where you'll see me?"

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Richard Moore is a freelance journalist and author. His first book, In Search of Robert Millar (HarperSport), won Best Biography at the 2008 British Sports Book Awards. His second book, Heroes, Villains & Velodromes (HarperSport), was long-listed for the 2008 William Hill Sports Book of the Year.

He writes on sport, specialising in cycling, and is a regular contributor to Cyclingnews, the Guardian, skyports.com, the Scotsman and Procycling magazine.

He is also a former racing cyclist who represented Scotland at the 1998 Commonwealth Games and Great Britain at the 1998 Tour de Langkawi

His next book, Slaying the Badger: LeMond, Hinault and the Greatest Ever Tour de France, will be published by Yellow Jersey in May 2011.

Another book, Sky’s the Limit: British Cycling’s Quest to Conquer the Tour de France, will also be published by HarperSport in June 2011.