Lance Armstrong Ends Cycling Comeback After Two Years

Cyclist Lance Armstrong
Cyclist Lance Armstrong of the US prepares to take part in the 51 km Cancer Council Classic cycling race, part of the 2011 Tour Down Under, in Adelaide. Photographer: Mark Gunter/AFP/Getty Images

Seven-time Tour de France champion Lance Armstrong said he’s quitting professional cycling, ending a two-year comeback at age 39.

Armstrong said in a news release that he will devote himself “full time” to his family and leading his cancer research foundation. It’s the second time he’s retired.

“My focus now is raising my five children, promoting the mission of Livestrong” and working with companies in the battle against cancer, Armstrong said.

Food and Drug Administration special agent Jeff Novitzky is holding a doping probe into the U.S. Postal Service team, with which Armstrong won most of his Tour titles. Armstrong has never failed a drug test and repeatedly denied using any banned performance-enhancing substances.

The rider dismissed allegations by Floyd Landis last year that doping was commonplace on the team, saying his fellow American wasn’t a credible witness. Landis was stripped of his 2006 Tour win for a failed drugs test.

Armstrong had planned to compete in the Tour of California and other U.S. races this year although he has been troubled by a knee injury since December, his RadioShack team spokesman Philippe Maertens said by telephone.

Armstrong had already ruled out racing again in the Tour de France after finishing third in 2009 and 23rd last year. He had also said January’s Tour Down Under in Australia would be his last international race.

The Texan said his comeback had spurred new investment in cancer research and raised awareness about the disease.

“We’ve come a long way in two years,” he said. “I’m humbled and grateful for the outpouring of support our campaign and our partners received.”

Armstrong first returned to cycling in 1998 after recovering from testicular cancer that spread to his brain and lungs. He won the Tour for the first time in 1999 and completed his seventh straight victory in 2005 before retiring. He returned in January 2009 at the Tour Down Under.

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