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Last Updated: Sunday, 24 July, 2005, 16:59 GMT 17:59 UK
All hail the king
Lance Armstrong bowed out in a blaze of glory on Sunday, winning a seventh Tour de France.

The Texan rarely looked troubled en route to the win, eventually crossing the finish on the Champs-Elysees almost five minutes ahead of his closest rival.

BBC Sport asks key figures in the sport to rate Armstrong's achievement.


Robbie McEwen
Sprinter and BBC Sport columnist

I spoke to Armstrong after one of the mountain stages and said "you're playing with them aren't you?"

And he gave me a wry grin and said he'd had to say to the cameras he was suffering before he cycled off as cool as you like.

I think that's possibly the easiest Tour he's ever ridden - he was well within himself. He was looking around a lot all the time and never really forced the pace. He got Yaroslav Popovych to increase the speed and then he went.

He'll leave a gap in the sport, although not a void. Cycling superstars do come and go. And it'll be the same post-Armstrong.


Chris Boardman
Former Tour yellow jersey wearer

Arguably the hardest thing to achieve as a cyclist is to win the Tour de France - it's our Wimbledon or Super Bowl. And the fact that Lance did that seven times is awesome.

He's unique and everyone around the world, even from other sports, can appreciate what he's achieved.

I remember when I last rode it in 1998. I briefly took the yellow jersey before crashing out. Then, I never envisaged he would even challenge for the win the following year. But he did - I guess that was the last time he surprised me.

It simply became a case of "who's going to beat him?" rather than "will he win?".

He became cycling's first global superstar. OK, the Tour was Armstrong's springboard, but his adversity and the way he came back and what he's done off the bike, bring so much more appeal.


Sean Yates
Discovery Channel sporting director

I suppose he's all right really - he's done a bit in his career! Seriously, though, it's pretty awesome when you watch him in action from the centre of the team.

His focus has been awesome and there was never any doubt for us in the team that he'd do it. And now he bows out at the peak of his powers

I remember riding with him in the same team at the end of my career and everyone mentions how he's a different rider altogether since his return from cancer.

But he always had the potential to be great, it's just that he far exceeded that when he came back from illness.

For me, he's the most complete rider I've ever ridden with, against or seen on the telelvision. As for comparing him to the likes of Eddy Merckx, that's hard to do. It'd be a close-run thing though.


Simon Brotherton
Radio Five Live cycling correspondent

What Lance Armstrong has achieved is a record built to last and a record that can now be set in stone.

And that is perfectly reasonable because no-one is going to break it any time soon.

He deserved his last six Tour de France wins and was an equally deserving winner this time.




WATCH AND LISTEN
Press conference: Lance Armstrong


Report: Armstrong retires after seventh Tour win


Interview: Discovery Team sporting director Sean Yeates


Interview: Former Tour competitor Chris Boardman



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