Lance Armstrong to race in Leadville
Summit County Correspondent
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado
Seven-time Tour de France champion Lance Armstrong has entered the Aug. 9 Leadville Trail 100 mountain-bike race, promising to raise the profile of one of the world’s toughest ” and highest ” races.
Race promoter Ken Chlouber on Wednesday gleefully announced the addition of Armstrong to the 1,000-member field.
“It’s huge for the race, of course, but even more grand and more meaningful to our community, because now the national and the international spotlight will be on Leadville,” Chlouber said.
Armstrong, who has turned his attention in recent years to running the New York City marathon and to operating his eponymous cancer-research and support foundation, hasn’t raced professionally since retiring after winning his record seventh straight Tour de France in 2005.
The Texan famously survived testicular cancer that had spread throughout his body and brain before launching his dominance of the world’s most famous bike race.
“Leadville’s history is of grits, guts (and) determination … people like Molly Brown, people who are truly unsinkable,” Chlouber said. “I think that just goes hand in hand with a guy like Lance Armstrong, who kicked everybody’s butt in the Tour de France for seven years and whipped an even bigger opponent in cancer.”
Last year, 2006 Tour de France champion Floyd Landis ” who since has had his title stripped and been banned from racing for a positive doping test ” competed in the Leadville 100 and finished a close second to Gunnison’s Dave Wiens.
Armstrong initially had planned to ride in that race, too, but withdrew because of a scheduling conflict.
He is said to be training in Aspen to acclimatize to the high elevation and is expected to be checking out the course over the next week with trainer Chris Carmichael, a two-time competitor and friend of Chlouber.
“He’s coming to win,” Chlouber said of Armstrong. “I’m sure he’s got his guns strapped on, and he’ll be coming full blast … We’re going to put him on the front row, right beside Dave Wiens, and I expect it’ll be a shootout right from the get-go.”
Wiens, a member of the Mountain Biking Hall of Fame, is a five-time winner of the race and set a course record last year, becoming the first rider to finish in less than seven hours.
“I think the race will boil down to David versus Lance, and that’ll be David versus Goliath. And in the David versus Goliath battle, I’m putting my money on David,” Chlouber said, exhibiting typical pride in a home-grown competitor.
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