So at first it was just a rumor, but now it is official – Lance Armstrong is returning to pro cycling. This is huge. For the cycling community this is bigger than the return of Brett Favre (for the NFL) or Michael Jordan (for the NBA). VeloNews was able to get some reactions from competitors at the Vuelta (Tour of Spain) when it was still just rumor. Luckily, I can read between the lines and tell you what they really wanted to say.
Johan Bruyneel(Astana general manager): We’ve heard the rumors starting a few weeks ago when he rode this mountain bike race (Leadville 100). Right now all we can say it’s a rumor. What’s sure, if he wanted to come back, I wouldn’t say no. And I could never imagine him riding for another team. It would be here. And if he did come back, it would be to win. But right now, all I can say is that it’s rumors.
My Translation: If Lance goes and rides for Garmin-Chipotle, I’ll be dissapoined. If he rides for that Michael Ball bastard and his Rock Racing misfits, I’m going to puke.
Alberto Contador (Astana): I don’t know about the truth of the rumor, but it certainly appears as something surprising and curious. I view it as a rumor that would revolutionize the world of cycling. He would be a good teammate and it would be a unique experience and it would be something of pride because he’s a rider I really admire a lot. I don’t know what to make of the story, but if it’s true and he does come back, he certainly would be able to do just about anything he wanted.
My Translation: I’d love to have you on the team . . . as my DOMESTIQUE.
Carlos Sastre(CSC-Saxo Bank): He’s a rider who can put your hair on end just by watching him on TV. After three years of inactivity, it would be difficult to return to the highest level, but he is Lance Armstrong. If he wants to return it’s because he believes he has an opportunity.”
My Translation: Thank God I won this year!
I’m actually very pumped about Lance’s return – mostly because Lance makes cycling more relevant in the US. Let’s face it, Lance’s celebrity gives our sport more credibility with the general public. If his comeback means it’s a little easier for a race promoter to get the appropriate permit from a city, or a driver gives me a little more space when they pass me on the road – I’ll take it.