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Last Updated: Saturday, 24 July, 2004, 19:45 GMT 20:45 UK
Armstrong hungry for more
Lance Armstrong
Armstrong has ridden into yellow in astonishing fashion
Lance Armstrong has not decided whether to ride in next year's Tour de France.

But the American, who is on the verge of an historic sixth consecutive victory, seems as driven as ever.

He said: "I'm enjoying the competition more than ever. Not to make history, or money - just for the thrill of getting on a bike and racing 200 other guys.

"I haven't made a schedule for 2005 and I'm not ready to decide yet. But I can't ever imagine skipping the Tour. It is so special."

He added: "Make no mistake, there's no bigger bike race in the world.

"But if I do come, I would only come with the perfect condition. I would never come for a promenade. I would come ready to win.

"But whether or not we come, or sit out a year, that's not been decided."

If Armstrong sat out next year's race, he insists it would not be the end of his participation in the event.

"I'll do it again before I stop. It's a special race. It's everything. You can't have this intensity in any other event," the 32-year-old said.

Armstrong has long been criticised within the cycling world for concentrating almost solely on the Tour de France, neglecting Classic races, such as the Paris-Roubaix, that form an important part of cycling tradition.

It's fair to say there's still a lot of things I'd like to do in cycling, like the Classics and the hour record
Lance Armstrong

However, his calendar over the next 12 months could largely be decided by the demands of his future sponsors.

Before the Tour, his team signed a multi-million dollar three-year deal with the Discovery channel who will replace current backers US Postal Service.

Asked if he would skip next year's Tour to focus on other events, Armstrong said: "It's too hard to say.

"It's fair to say there's still a lot of things I'd like to do in cycling, like the Classics and the hour record, that require a different type of focus.

"I also understand I have a new sponsor and the Tour's the biggest cycling race in the world. I have to discuss it with them."

Armstrong's team manager, friend and mentor, former cyclist Johan Bruyneel, feels the Texan will find the Tour too hard to resist.

"I think that for Lance it would be very hard for him to motivate himself without the Tour de France," Bruyneel said.





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