No, Lance Armstrong ended his racing career last July when he finished the Tour de France. Whilst he’s announced he’ll ride the Aussie Tour Down Under in early 2011 for me he won’t be there for the racing.
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Indeed most of the bunch aren’t there for the racing either. For sure it has its moments but by and large it’s a season-opening leg spinner, the chance for riders to get some miles in their legs – expenses paid – whilst under sunny skies.
Cynics would say Armstrong is going because he’s been offered a giant appearance fee. Most of us would get out of bed for this. Perhaps he’s also going to give some motivational speeches and to do some fund raising in Australia too. But either way, given the TDU is partly a training-event, Armstrong isn’t going for the racing. Whilst every rider, not to mention team staff and even the media will see the event as the prologue to the 2011, Armstrong will use it as his swan song.
It’s perhaps a shame. He showed glimpses of form in the Tour of Flanders and a lot of work is going into the Quiznos Pro Challenge race, essentially the Tour of Colorado. His presence in either race would be a more fitting way to bow out.