The news was meant to be a scoop for Vanity Fair reporter Douglas Brinkley, who lives near Armstrong, in Austin, Texas. Instead, VeloNews was first to the wire, saying there was to be an interview in Vanity Fair confirming the new.
The scoop in VeloNews sent the blogosphere into a frenzy and had reporters falling over themselves trying to catch up. Yesterday, the report seemed less likely to be true when the Astana team denied it was to the vehicle from which Armstrong which pitch for his eighth Tour de France victory. Astana is managed by Johan Bruyneel, Armstrong’s former directeur sportif.
However, Vanity Fair has now published to the web what was meant to be a mag exclusive. In a long, ranging article Brinkley soon cuts to the chase. He reports Armstrong saying:
“I’m going back to professional cycling. I’m going to try and win an eighth Tour de France.”
Brinkley wrote: "But at age 37? A 2,000-mile, 23-day race, much of it uphill? By next July? I asked him, rather ungraciously, if he wasn’t too old to get back into shape that quickly.
"He laughed. And he was off and running. “Look at the Olympics. You have a swimmer like Dara Torres. Even in the 50-meter event [freestyle], the 41-year-old mother proved you can do it. The woman who won the marathon [Constantina Tomescu-Dita, of Romania] was 38. Older athletes are performing very well. Ask serious sports physiologists and they’ll tell you age is a wives’ tale. Athletes at 30, 35 mentally get tired. They’ve done their sport for 20, 25 years and they’re like, I’ve had enough. But there’s no evidence to support that when you’re 38 you’re any slower than when you were 32.
“Ultimately, I’m the guy that gets up. I mean, I get up out of bed a little slow. I mean, I’m not going to lie. I mean, my back gets tired quicker than it used to and I get out of bed a little slower than I used to. But when I’m going, when I’m on the bike—I feel just as good as I did before.”
Armstrong has hired his own film crew to record his return, including the enhanced regime of dope testing that cyclists now have to adhere to.
"Every morning, Armstrong explained, he was up at 5:30 training: riding his bike through the Hill Country, lifting weights, sizing up the European competition, jogging for ungodly miles around Lady Bird Lake. He had hired former pro triathlete Peter Park—a Santa Barbara strength and conditioning coach who owns two California gyms—to whip him into shape. His main cycling coach of nearly 20 years, Chris Carmichael, had now picked up the pace. Meanwhile, Johan Bruyneel…would run and manage his team, developing comprehensive tactics for winning the Tour."