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Posted: July 10, 2006

Cycling: Interview with Lance Armstrong

By Lynne Bermel
Photo: Cycle of Hope

Lynne Bermel was the sole Canadian reporter to interview Lance Armstrong on a recent conference call.

A figure that clearly transcends cycling and transcends sports, Lance was on enroute to LA to become the first athlete to host the ESPY Awards - the sporting equivalent to the Oscars. He would then fly across the pond to crown his successor on the Champs-Elysťes but first, he was off to Lake Tahoe to head an A-list of celebrities (including the likes of Michael Jordan, Donald Trump and Pete Sampras) in the American Century Pro-Am Golf Championships.

Lance shares his thoughts on the Tour, on the pending lawsuits, on his plans for the New York marathon and Hawaii Ironman as well as his focus on cancer research and fatherhood.

Who will win the maillout jaune this year?

ďItís a wide open tour. I have no idea who is going to win. I donít think anybody does. The interesting thing is that the American presence there is huge. I think we have a great opportunity to win Ė with George Hincapie, Floyd Landis or a Levi Liepheimer.

Does he miss the Tour?

ďI watch it every day. I just got done watching the recaps now. Itís fascinating to watch because every day there is a new issue or crash. Just losing Valverde the other day was a big blow to the Tour.Ē

Is he happy in retirement?

ďIím still trying to figure out this retirement thing. The life of an athlete is simple. You practice, you eat, you rest and then you play the game. I donít have that any more. Now my life is full of travel, commitments and responsibilities. And thatís just a part of it. It is an adjustment. Itís still surprising to me.Ē

What time is he looking at for the New York marathon?

ďI just hope to be within an hour of the winner. That puts me right about three hours. Actually, I would be happy if I broke three hours. But I found running to be more challenging than I had expected.Ē

Since he's training for the New York marathon, does that mean he plans to race the Hawaii Ironman one day?

ďNever say never when it comes to anything in life but I doubt seriously that I will be doing the Ironman. Thatís a little too epic. My days of long endurance efforts are done, outside of the marathon.Ē

Photo: Cycle of Hope

How about running for office?

ďI get that question a lot. Not right now. I think that the work that I'm doing individually, the, the work the Foundation is doing is better served outside of the office or outside of public office. Iím going to stay apolitical and try to just be an advocate and effect change like that.Ē

Does that mean heís keeping it open?

ďNever say never. The chances are not that high, for a couple of reasons. No. 1, political life is tough. It would make sport look really, really basic and simple in terms of what you want to put yourself through and what you want to put your family through. Right now, thatís my No.1 consideration, what kind of a father am I and how am I doing at that. If you ran for office, you would obviously be on the road all the time, you would be absent, and then of course, you would put your kids through stuff Iím not prepared to do.Ē

Why did he decide to drop those pending defamation lawsuits in France?

ďOur record has been Ė I donít know, I think weíre 10 and 0. Right now, my life is not about that anymore. Iíve answered all the questions, I stood up to all the interrogations and investigations and itsí not time to do stuff that is more important.

If Iím going to spend money, itís going to be on a good cause and not on something like that. Again, I canít reiterate enough our record.

By dropping those lawsuits, does he think itís now over?

ď"Probably not, but that's okay.". I donít need to go out and win another lawsuit. What I need to do is try to effect change with regard to cancer.Ē

© Copyright 2006 Lynne Bermel

Lynne Bermel, a former world-ranked pro Ironman competitor, is a senior marketing & PR consultant living in Ottawa. She is also a freelance writer and TV sports show host. You can reach her at:

You can access previous columns by Lynne at: LB_Columns

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