SEVEN-TIME TOUR DE FRANCE winner Lance Armstrong has announced his retirement from professional cycling, six years after his last victory in the sport’s greatest showpiece.
Armstrong has dubbed his decision “Retirement 2.0″, a reference to his decision to quit the sport in 2005 after his seventh Tour win.
He subsequently announced his return to the saddle three years later, aiming for further glory in order to secure his record as the most successful cyclist of all time.
Speaking to the Associated Press yesterday, Armstrong confirmed that he had no regrets about his decision to get back in the saddle for one last tilt at the title.
I can’t say I have any regrets. It’s been an excellent ride. I really thought I was going to win another tour. Then I lined up like everybody else and wound up third.
I have no regrets about last year, either [when he only managed to finish 23rd]. The crashes, the problems with the bike – those were things that were beyond my control.
The star also tweeted confirmation of his decision, thanking fans for their support throughout his career.
For those wondering what’s next for Lance, he also confirmed that the decision will allow him more time to spend with his wife and children as well as to concentrate on work with his Livestrong movement.
Armstrong famously overcame testicular cancer at the age of 25 before going on to dominate the cycling world. He established the Lance Armstrong Foundation in 1997 which has since gone on to be one of the top ten groups providing funds for cancer research in the United States.
Armstrong’s announcement comes just one day after the man whom many view to be his heir, Spain’s Alberto Contador, was cleared of doping charges.
Contador’s third Tour de France title, which he won last summer, has been restored by the Spanish Cycling Federation after they overturned the one-year suspension which had been handed down after he tested positive for the anabolic agent clenbuterol.
Though Armstrong has never been found guilty of any offenses, there have been a number of allegations made which implicate him in doping practices.
Most notably, Armstrong’s former team-mate Floyd Landis has claimed that he witnessed the American engage in illicit blood transfusions and distribute testosterone patches while competing.
Armstrong again reiterated his denial of all allegations in yesterday’s interview.
I can’t control what goes on in regards to the investigation. 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.