Armstrong has no regrets as career draws to a close
Lance Armstrong has “no regrets” and says he loses no sleep as his cycling comeback draws to a close and speculation continues about an American government investigation.
Over the next week, the record seven-time Tour de France champion will have the last overseas race of his three-year comeback when he rides for RadioShack at the Santos Tour Down Under in Adelaide.
Meanwhile, federal investigators in the US continue to look into allegations of doping on Armstrong’s team during his Tour de France wins last decade.
While Armstrong has hired veteran legal and communications strategist Mark Fabiani, the cycling star says he is doing “nothing” personally in reaction to the investigation.
“I never lose sleep – ever,” he said in Adelaide on Saturday.
“It has no effect on my life, zero – that’s for other people to deal with.”
Allegations by former team-mate Floyd Landis about doping and the federal investigation have meant plenty of negative media about Armstrong over the last few months.
But Armstrong says he has noticed no drop in his popularity.
An informal ride on Saturday morning at the coastal suburb of Glenelg, announced on Armstrong’s Twitter feed, attracted thousands of cyclists for the second-straight year.
“I call it ‘The Starbucks Index’ – you stand in line at a Starbucks, just getting a coffee,” he said.
“When is the day that somebody comes up to you and gets in your face and says something?
“I’ve never had anything remotely close to that, ever – if you’re going to waste your time trawling around on the chat rooms and forums, of course you’re going to get a lot of that.
“But on the street, never … we’ve seen no impact – it’s unfortunate, but again, you try to keep your head held high.”
Armstrong again defended his reputation, saying he never doped.
“They can keep looking,” he said.
“If you’re trying to hide something, you wouldn’t keep getting away with it for 10 years, nobody is that clever.”
He also reacted to a media report that detailed how US Postal put more than $US30 million into Armstrong’s team from 2001-04.
The cyclist said an independent report had outlined that the sponsorship had been worth about $US103 million to US Postal.
Armstrong also admits his cycling comeback was not as successful as he wanted, because he did not win an eighth Tour de France.
A knee injury also has him unsure about his sporting schedule for the rest of the year.
He wants to race in the October Hawaiian Ironman triathlon, but the injury is running-related and it might need surgery.
Nevertheless, Armstrong is happy that he returned to the sport, starting with the 2009 Tour Down Under.
“It was different than I expected – that’s just the reality, I’m not going to make any excuses,” he said.
“I did everything I could … no regrets though, none at all.
“It’s been a success – not a sporting one, but it’s been a non-profit success through the foundation.”
Armstrong was referring to his well-known Livestrong cancer advocacy charity.
The Adelaide Tour starts on Sunday with the Cancer Council Classic one-day street race, followed by the six-day Tour itself from next Tuesday.© AAP 2013
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