Just as tongues were busy wagging about the new-found passions of Lance Armstrong, from cameo film roles to bagging celebrity blondes, the man himself drops a media frenzied bombshell and says he’s returning to the race scene. Our new resident Gossip Girl brings us the latest…er gossip.
Unless you’ve been lucky enough to be living in an idyllic hermit-like state on a remote island, with nothing to occupy yourself but endless sun-drenched training rides for the last month, you’ll have heard by now that the legendary Lance Armstrong is to return to the race scene. I say legendary, and that’s just the thing; we expected Lance to let history lay to rest, to hang up his Oakleys and become a something of a cycling legend. So I for one was surprised to hear confirmation that he will return to the pro scene in 2009 to pick up where he left off.
For some, this will not have come as such a surprise, for Johan Bruyneel perhaps who will now continue his working relationship with Armstrong. The press have of course had a field day with this announcement, and like the media savvy man he is, Lance has trickled the information gradually in juicy nuggets to keep us hungry. The first instalment of Lance news was that he would return. We then learned that he would return to the Tour Down Under. And finally, after a considerable amount of speculation we have confirmation of the news, that most of us had hazarded a well calculated guess at already, that his team choice would come in the form of the Kazakh Astana squad. This came as little shock to those who know the Texan would be unlikely to stray too far from a Trek bicycle or his trusted confidant, and former Discovery Manager, Bruyneel.
For others who were just adjusting to seeing the American icon making increasingly frequent appearances on TV, all the while being splashed across the pages of gossip magazines for his latest shenanigans in celeb-ville, or busying himself in his new bike shop, it may have come as a bit more of a shock that he would return to his former sporting life.
He has of course publicly stated numerous reasons for his dramatic return, primarily to continue his tremendous charity work and also presumably because he has no doubt that he can do rather well. However, there are also the reasons being suggested a little less publicly. The main two strands of opinion to emerge have been based around the opposing arguments that his return will either drag the sport back into the past, or bring the boost of excitement it needs to move forward.
So what’s your stance on Lance? For now I’ll leave you with the words of his former right hand man George Hincapie who has nothing but words of praise: “It’s a very positive thing. He’s looking fit, he’s fired up and it’s going to be an exciting year.”
Exciting or exasperating? Until next time, we want your views.Gossip Girl x