Lance in L.A. Times and on Infociclismo

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From Infociclismo a few days ago:


"We Americans are not well loved over seas right now. Things will be

difficult for me if I have to go to the Tour with a war going on. In cycling

one rides with your chest uncovered, without walls or protection. But I'll

be there anyway, there war won't be the thing to stop me". When asked if he would withdraw from the
Tour if he received personal threats: "I hope that it doesn't happen and anyway, I'm not sure that
there is going to be a war. I support president Bush. The only thing that I would say is to allow
the inspectors to do their job", finished Armstrong.

From Saturday's (2/1) Los Angeles Times, at: <A

The Easier the Course, the Tougher for Him

 By Gary Klein, Times Staff Writer

SOLVANG, Calif. -- Lance Armstrong has won the grueling Tour de France four consecutive times. In
July, he will try to join a small fraternity of cycling stars who have won it five times.

Armstrong and 19 teammates who ride for the U.S. Postal Service team completed a 10-day training
camp here Thursday. Earlier this week, Armstrong talked about this year's Tour de France, the state
of his sport and his place in it:    

       Question: How does this year's Tour de France course suit you?

Answer: It's probably the least suited of all of the last five years. There are a lot of downhill
finishes and shorter time trials. They're 40 kilometers and in the past they have been about 50, 55,
close to 60. And then you just don't have that many big mountain-top finishes. They took out a lot
of those. You have climbs and descents. It's a different dynamic than finishing on top. [The race]
will be tight. It will be closer.

Q: Does the course change the way you train for it?

R: No. It will be important to know those descents because they're dangerous and you don't want to
take any unneeded risks there.

S: You have said that you don't really think about what it would mean to win five or a record six
Tours in a row. Why not?

T: It's so much easier for me. I think it's natural to take the easy road. Easy for me to just focus
on this year and not look at the magnitude of trying to equal or break a record. It's
distracting. It's irrelevant in the grand scheme of trying to win this year's race. I prefer to
sit back and count later. Not now.

U: What kind of message do you think cycling is sending, regarding the doping situation?

V: The sport has done more than it's ever done before. I know the sport of cycling has done
more than any other sport to combat the problem -- soccer, tennis, track and field,
whatever. Show me a sport that has done as much and has been under as much scrutiny as
cycling. You'll never find it.

We are doing what we can do. Are we perfect? No. Is everybody clean? No. Is there going to be
another positive case next year? Yes. Is there going to be a police raid at the Giro? Probably.
These things are like rainstorms. They are inevitable. But on balance, which is how everybody wants
to be judged, I think cycling can look itself in the mirror.

W: Given the current political climate and the attitude toward Americans in some parts of the world,
will you feel any kind of personal threat racing in the Tour de France this year?

X: What we'll do is control what we can control. We'll control the hotels. We'll control the starts
and the finishes. We'll control my home, my family. On the open road, it's completely out of our
control and that's the nature of the beast. Cycling is a sport of the people, a sport of the open
road. I've always, in the past, looked around to see if any crazies are there.

Y: So it's not something that sticks in your mind?

Z: I'm not scared about that. No. It depends on what somebody wanted to do. If they wanted to tackle
you, you would lose time, maybe get a scratch. If they wanted to shoot you, you would lose a lot
of time, maybe some blood. It could be a problem.... As an American abroad, it's scary to think
of being over there in a big public event with a war going on.

Z: If someone in an official capacity said, "You shouldn't go ride. It's a risk for you to ride,"
would you go?

Z: I could see that happening. I know that after 9/11 they went to a certain athlete here in America
who was going to play in an international event in France and they told him not to go. And he
didn't go. So what would I do? I'd probably go.

Z: You're 31. As you get older, are you feeling more vulnerable to physical challenges than you did
a few years ago?

Z: I get out of bed slower. This morning, I went to get out of bed and went to the gym. And now,
this afternoon, I can barely walk, my back hurts so bad, which wouldn't have happened 10 years
ago. But at the same time, when everything is flowing and working fine and not sore, I feel
stronger than ever.... The strength is different. It's deeper than before, than it was 10 years
ago or even last year. I feel like I have more strength.

Z: What do you do to get away from the pressure and expectations?

Z: The easiest thing for me to completely remove myself from this world, the world in general, is
just go hang out with my kids. Go roll around with a 3-year-old who wants to play tackle on the
floor. Or two little 1-year old girls that just want to run around and scream. That's so far from
cycling, from the Tour de France, from training, from the pressure of that world. It's a great
distraction, the best thing you can have.

Z: As a cancer survivor, is there anything you can envision yourself doing that would raise
awareness of the disease even more?

Z: Right now, the best thing I can do is continue to win the Tour de France. That's what gets the
story told again and again and again. That's what's on a real emotional and motivational level.
The person in the hospital, the family member in the hospital [is] watching the Tour de France on
television in America while they are getting chemotherapy or recovering from surgery. That's what
they like. They look at that thing and they think, 'There's my brother.' They look at that like
that. And that's a strong powerful tool that I will never be able to do again."

Z: You wrote in your book that you were motivated early in your career by the slights you suffered
while growing up. When you're climbing a mountain on your bike today, do the same kinds of things
motivate you?

Z: You have years when you're mad about certain things or mad about rivals that have said or done
something. Now, I'm more motivated by the fear of losing than anything else. I do not want to
lose, personally. I don't want to lose and have to go to the dinner table with eight other guys
and look them in the eyes ... having just lost half an hour on a climb.... That's enough to keep
me working hard, racing hard, motivated. I don't want to let them down. I wouldn't want to let
myself down or the coaches, the directors, the sponsors.
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