Seven-time Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong has announced his retirement from professional cycling after deciding not to race the Tour of California.
Armstrong, who first retired in 2005, returned to racing in 2008 and went on to finish third in the 2009 Tour de France, before a string of crashes saw him sink to 23rd in last year’s race.
The 39-year-old won seven consecutive Tour titles from 1999 to 2005, racking up 22 stage victories en-route.
But Armstrong insists he has no regrets about his return despite not winning an eighth title.
“I can’t say I have any regrets. It’s been an excellent ride. I really thought I was going to win another tour,” Armstrong told The Associated Press. “Then I lined up like everybody else and wound up third.
“I have no regrets about last year, either. The crashes, the problems with the bike – those were things that were beyond my control.”
Armstrong’s comeback has been dogged by doping allegations from Floyd Landis – who was stripped of his 2006 Tour victory after testing positive – and the Texan now the subject of a federal investigation led by special agent Jeff Novitzky.
“I can’t control what goes on in regards to the investigation,” added Armstrong. “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. I know what I do and I know what I did. That’s not going to change.”
But asked whether this time he is retiring for good, Armstrong joked: “Never say never… just kidding.”