Updated on 09/09/08: It’s official. Lance Armstrong is returning to racing. Watch the announcement in his own words here.
Rumors are swirling on the Internet that Lance Armstrong plans to end his retirement and compete in the 2009 Tour de France.
The cycling journal VeloNews reports Armstrong also will compete, for no salary or bonuses, in four other races: Amgen Tour of California, Paris-Nice, the Tour de Georgia, and the Dauphine-Libere.
Armstrong, a seven-time Tour de France winner and cancer survivor, officially retired from cycling in 2005. Any athlete who wishes to come out of retirement must enroll in the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency's out-of-competition testing program for at least six months in advance of regaining eligible status. Armstrong, who turns 37 next week, re-enrolled himself into the USADA's out-of-competition testing pool early last month, making him eligible for elite competition beginning on Feb. 1, 2009.
But the reported comeback won't be with the Astana cycling team. "He is no part of our team," Astana team press officer Philippe Maertens told the Associated Press in an E-mail. "Team Astana has no plans with him."
An article about Armstrong's return may be published in an upcoming issue of Vanity Fair, according to VeloNews, which cited anonymous sources. Beth Kseniak, a spokeswoman for Vanity Fair, confirmed to the New York Times Monday that the magazine was working on an Armstrong story but did not provide further details.
Since retiring, Armstrong has been advocating for cancer research and running marathons. But for fans, at least, the road is calling.