Armstrong considering 'retirement' options

Don't expect to see Lance Armstrong take a regular job after he retires from cycling next Sunday.

Updated: July 19, 2005, 3:52 PM ET
Associated Press

PAU, France -- Don't expect to see Lance Armstrong take a regular job after he retires from cycling next Sunday.

The six-time Tour de France winner, who is looking to claim his seventh straight title this weekend in Paris, is no longer the type of guy to wake up early and head to the office. "No, never," Armstrong said recently. "Life is funny, sometimes we have to do things that we don't want to do, but 9-to-5 sounds really painful."

The American said his first priority after retirement will be his children -- 5-year-old Luke and 3-year-old twins Grace and Isabelle, who live in Austin, Texas, with their mother, Kristin. She and Armstrong divorced in 2003.

"The first thing I want to do is be a full-time dad, be a dad that's around Austin all the time," Armstrong said. "Regardless of the situation with the kids spending time with mom and dad you still need to be there with things regarding their lives."

Armstrong also said the fight against cancer will likely remain his "biggest cause." Television work with his team's Discovery Channel sponsors is also a possibility, and he plans to continue working with other sponsors and "have a little fun."

"Spending some more time surfing, and riding motorcycles and not have the stress of being a professional athlete," said the 33-year-old, who has a record six Tour wins and held a comfortable lead after the 16th stage Tuesday of this Tour.

But after Armstrong retires, what will happen to cycling in the United States?

"We have a good crop of guys in their late 20s, early 30s, so for the next five, six years I see great hope," Armstrong said.

"Everyone thought that American cycling was going to really suffer" when three-time Tour winner Greg LeMond retired, "and then that didn't end up being the case. We had another wave of good young riders come through."

LeMond won in 1986, '89 and '90 -- victories that helped inspire Armstrong.

Floyd Landis is one of the next American hopes.

Landis, eighth overall after the 16th stage, said many U.S. fans were drawn to cycling by Armstrong's comeback from cancer and that some might lose interest when he quits.

"There's a lot of people that watch because of him and I assume that some of them will stay, continue watching because they are interested in cycling. Many of them watch because of Lance's story, one of the most motivational stories ever,"' said Landis, a former Armstrong teammate who now races for the Swiss Phonak squad.

"It's always been a fringe sport compared to the big sports in America and it always will be," Landis added. "Here in Europe, it's a big sport because it's been that way for 100 years. On the other hand, football and baseball and basketball will always be big American sports. I have no misconceptions about cycling taking over the world."


Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press

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