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American Cyclist Lance Armstrong Hints at Retirement - 2004-02-29

Five-time defending Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong of the United States has hinted he could retire from cycling at the end of this season.

The 32-year-old cancer survivor will be going for a record sixth victory in cycling's premier event this year. But in an interview with a London newspaper, Armstrong says a loss at the Tour de France might spark thoughts of retirement.

Though he says he can not imagine being retired 12 months from now, he says this could be his last year. Armstrong says he could react to a loss in two different ways, as knowing he is past his prime and it is time to retire, or that he has to try to win again.

But the American cycling star makes no secret of the fact that he does not think there is a more difficult sporting event anywhere than riding in the Tour de France. Armstrong compares it to a marathon and Formula One race combined, saying it is dangerous, and calling it "three weeks of agony."