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Thursday, 31 January, 2002, 14:08 GMT
Armstrong targets Tour record
Lance Armstrong
Armstrong is targeting another yellow jersey in July
Lance Armstrong has hinted he will retire from cycling unless he remains on target to beat Miguel Indurain's record of five consecutive Tour de France victories.

The American admits he has Indurain's feat in his sights as he prepares to launch his bid for a fourth successive crown this year.

Another triumph in July will see Armstrong equal the record of Frenchman Jacques Anquetil, who won the Tour four times in a row from 1961 to 1964.


I hate losing at anything, whether it be cards, golf or whatever
Lance Armstrong

But he is already contemplating a crack at emulating Indurain, the Spaniard who triumphed every year from 1991 to 1995.

"I have been thinking about it (Indurain's record), as I have now won three Tours and I think I can carry on for two or three years more because right now I feel stronger than ever," Armstrong told Spanish sports daily Marca on Thursday.

"But I am not comparing myself with a cycling legend like him and I do not consider myself to be in the same category."

Armstrong's response when asked if he would carry on competitive riding if he was defeated this year however suggests failure could see him quit.

"Probably not," the Texan replied. "I hate losing at anything, whether it be cards, golf or whatever."

Armstrong, 30, whose victory in last year's Tour was his most comprehensive yet, says the birth of his twin daughters last November has given him further motivation.

"My two daughters have given me two new reasons to ride in addition to the motivation I have always had because of the love of competition, the team and all the work involved," he said.

Miguel Indurain
Miguel Indurain is in Armstrong's sights

Armstrong's first Tour triumph in 1999 came after a brave recovery from advanced testicular cancer.

And he believes the experience still provides his biggest advantage over potential rivals to his Tour dominance.

"Cancer is my secret because none of my rivals has been that close to death and it makes you look at the world in a different light and that is a huge advantage," he added.

"I don't need to ride for the money, I do it because I love it and I would happily ride for nothing. I will be riding a bike in 10 years time because I feel better when I do exercise and I want to enjoy true good health."

Armstrong is preparing for the new season with his US Postal team in the Spanish coastal town of Javea and is due to race in the Tour of Murcia in March.

The Tour de France starts in Luxembourg on July 6, with Armstrong again hoping to be wearing the yellow jersey three weeks later up the Champs Elysees in Paris.

See also:

28 Nov 01 | Other Sports
29 Jul 01 | Tour de France
27 Jul 01 | Tour de France
23 Jul 00 | Tour de France
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