Armstrong set to ride in 2005 Tour de France

16th February 2005, Comments 0 comments

WASHINGTON, Feb 16 (AFP) - Lance Armstrong has ended speculation over whether he will race in the 2005 Tour de France by saying he will go for a seventh straight victory in this year's race.

WASHINGTON, Feb 16 (AFP) - Lance Armstrong has ended speculation over whether he will race in the 2005 Tour de France by saying he will go for a seventh straight victory in this year's race.

Armstrong made history by becoming the first cyclist to win six Tours de France with a dominating performance, winning five individual stages, in 2004.

"I am grateful for the opportunity that Discovery Communications has given the team and look forward to achieving my goal of a seventh Tour de France," Armstrong told the Discovery Channel Pro Cycling Team's website.

Armstrong will kick off his season early next month in the Paris-Nice seven-day stage race, the first event of the newly formed Pro Tour, the sport's top level racing series.

"I am excited to get back on the bike and start racing although my condition is far from perfect," said Armstrong.

Following Paris-Nice, Armstrong will take part in the 89th edition of the Tour of Flanders, one of Europe's most prestigious Spring Classics, on April 3.

Armstrong last raced in the Tour of Flanders in 2002, finishing 59th in support of his team's leader.

The Texan will then return to the US and defend his title at the Tour de Georgia from April 19-25.

"Johan (Bruyneel, the team's sports manager) and I will evaluate my fitness later this spring and possibly add some races to the calendar," said Armstrong.

Olaf Ludwig, head of former Tour winner Jan Ullrich's T-Mobile team, said he was not surprised by Armstrong's decision.

"I thought he'd race. His sponsors are not going to leave their best rider out," he said.

Ullrich was fourth last year while T-Mobile team-mate Andreas Kloden was second, six minutes behind Armstrong.

Armstrong's initial 2005 schedule: March 6-13: Paris-Nice (France), April 3: Tour of Flanders (Belgium, April 19-24: Tour de Georgia (USA), July 2-24: Tour de France.

© AFP

Subject: French News

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