He announced it on twitter with the words:
“Just did an interview with AP announcing I am doing the Tour de France in 2009”
Which means the corporate machines kick into overdrive and the press has to figure out the angle they wish to take. The divide will now be clearer than ever between the two opinions on Lance Armstrong: one that he’s a cheat, liar and borderline sociopath; the other that his achievements are indeed remarkable.
There is no middle ground, no mitigation or moderation. This is cycling in high contrast monochrome, debate at its most boorish and trivialised. And I utterly hate it. I don’t hate Armstrong, his riding style or his brash Texan manner. I hate that questioning the hooky logic used on both sides of the debate automatically places you in the opposing camp. [/rant]
He’s already hinting that his role at the Tour de France may be as a super-domestique for Alberto Contador, although you could read “I’m committed to riding for the best guy” any number of ways. Past form would suggest that Lance has rarely regarded himself as anything other than the best guy in the peloton.
I’m really looking forward to seeing how Armstrong goes in the one-day classics he is accused of ignoring during his post-cancer career. In particular The Tour of Flanders should make for a very interesting race, as it always does, with Lance not being an obvious contender but a figure others will watch the race for.
I’m undeniably of the view that Armstrong’s presence in the peloton will give value to cycling, purely in terms of the casual audience of people who watch big events because of the spectacle that they offer rather than a sporting passion. Some of these will filter into the sport but the wider impact is increased visibility for road cycling, which is key for its growth and development.