Monday, April 18, 2005

Lance Armstrong to put away yellow jersey

Well, it's official - after this summer's Tour de France, Lance Armstrong will hang up his bicycle for the last time. Now, retirement announcements by athletes are to be taken with a very large grain of salt - how many times did Michael Jordan, Mario Lemieux and nearly every pro boxer north of Hilary Swank walked away from their games only to return months or years later? But somehow I believe Armstrong when he says that he will put the bike shorts away for good. Indeed, I wonder why he doesn't just say bye-bye now? What else does he have to compete for. This is a man who has achieved just about everything possible in his field. You can't shake a stick at someone - the only one - to have won six straight Tours de France, the crown jewel of the sport. That alone would put Armstrong among the best sportsmen of the past decade. Add his miraculous survival from testicular cancer and the fact that he goes home every night to Sheryl Crow (hey, can't let that other testicle go to waste), and he's practically a cycling god.

I just hope that Armstrong's departure has nothing to do with the constant allegations that he's on the juice - not that I believe them, 'cause I don't. But Lance may be thinking, 'Do I need this hassle?' And, frankly, he doesn't. But no matter what the reason, Armstrong has earned the rest and the right to do with the rest of his life what he will. Even if that means he ends up hosting "Saturday Night Live."

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