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Cycling Champion Lance Armstrong to Retire After Next Tour de France


Six-time Tour de France champion Lance Armstrong of the United States has announced he will retire from professional cycling after the Tour de France in July.

The 33-year-old Armstrong said he will attempt to win a record seventh straight Tour de France title before parking his bike for good. "After a lot of thought (and) considering the season (and) the races that I was going to do this year, I decided to focus on the Tour. At the same time, I decided that the Tour de France would be my last race as a professional cyclist," he said.

Before Armstrong, no other cyclist had ever won more than five Tour titles or four in a row. His streak of six straight titles, along with his inspirational recovery from testicular cancer, has made Armstrong an international celebrity and arguably one of the greatest cyclists ever.

Armstrong has made numerous comments in recent months about his desire to spend more time with his three children, his companion pop singer Sheryl Crow, and in his campaign against cancer.

Armstrong has never failed a doping test, but he has been nagged by accusations of taking banned performance-enhancing substances throughout his years of dominating the world's best riders over the mountains of France.

Armstrong's contract with new team sponsor Discovery Channel requires him to race in just one more Tour de France. The Tour of Georgia race this week will help serve as a tuneup for France and mark the start of Armstrong's farewell tour in a rare U.S. appearance.

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