Lance Armstrong is retiring from cycling — this time for good, apparently.
"Never say never," Armstrong joked to The Associated Press on Tuesday. "Just kidding."
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Calling it "Retirement 2.0," the seven-time Tour de France champ said he will miss competing, but not the intense training that goes with it. "I can't say I have any regrets. It's been an excellent ride. I really thought I was going to win another [Tour de France]," Armstrong said of his 2009 comeback. "Then I lined up like everybody else and wound up third."I have no regrets about last year, either," he said of his 23rd-place finish. "The crashes, the problems with the bike — those were things that were beyond my control."Armstrong retired in 2005 after winning his seventh straight Tour de France, but returned four years later, partially to raise cancer awareness on behalf of his Livestrong Foundation. The 39-year-old survived testicular cancer before winning his seven titles.
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"His contribution to cycling has been enormous, from both the sporting point of view and his personality. All sports need global icons and he has become a global icon for cycling," International Cycling Union President Pat McQuaid told the AP. "The sport of cycling has a lot to be thankful for because of Lance Armstrong." Though Armstrong's seven titles cement his status among cycling's greatest, controversy has surrounded him in recent years, as a federal probe was started into the sport last year after Floyd Landis made doping allegations against him. Armstrong has denied ever using performance-enhancing drugs."I can't control what goes on in regards to the investigation. That's why I hire people to help me with that. I try not to let it bother me and just keep rolling right along. I know what I know," Armstrong said. "I know what I do and I know what I did. That's not going to change."
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As for what's next, Armstrong plans to spend more time with his family and will bring his eldest, 11-year-old Luke, to the race this summer — but don't think he'll be waxing nostalgic about any of his victories."In 10 years time," he said, "if I'm sitting around saying, 'I was so strong on L'Alpe d'Huez in 2001,' then I got a problem."