Tour champion plans to enjoy being a family man
Updated: Sunday July 29, 2001 5:04 PM
PARIS (Reuters) -- Triple Tour de France champion Lance Armstrong will celebrate his latest victory relaxing with his family in the United States before deciding on his next move.
The U.S. Postal rider received a kiss from his wife Kristin and planted one on his son Luke after wrapping up what he called a "beautiful" win in Sunday's final stage.
Armstrong revealed earlier in the Tour that Kristin is expecting twin girls and he is clearly enjoying his status as a family man after the cancer that threatened to deprive him of fatherhood.
"The most important thing now is to relax a little and spend some time with my family," he said. "I'm still not sure but I'll probably go back to the U.S. on Wednesday, just to New York."
"After that I have four possible races but I still don't know yet which of them I'll race."
Armstrong also said he was still undecided over whether to race the Tour of Spain and return a favor to Spaniard Roberto Heras.
Heras, fifth in last year's Tour de France and the winner of the Tour of Spain, switched from Kelme to U.S. Postal this year to work as part of Armstrong's support team.
"I'm waiting to make a decision," he said. "It's important to recover from this race and prepare for next year."
"I'd like to be there to help Roberto, though. I think he has an excellent chance of winning again."
Armstrong's career was put on ice in 1996 when he was diagnosed as suffering from a testicular cancer that had spread to his lungs and brain.
He returned to professional cycling in 1998 and to the Tour the following year.
He has now won in each of the three years he has been back, and while he believes he is improving with age he insists each victory has come as a surprise.
"The first win was such a surprise that I still didn't believe it the following morning," he said.
"I've never felt untouchable, or that success was a given. I think that's a healthy feeling -- to know that things aren't always going to be perfect, that there is no free ride."
On Sunday, Armstrong became only the fifth man to win three or more Tours in succession.
The record, held by Spain's Miguel Indurain, is five but he insists that equaling or bettering that mark is not a priority.
"In all honesty if I'm sitting here next year and I have the feeling that I don't want to do it again then I'll be out of here and you'll never see me again," he said.
"My plan is to be back next year, though. I still have a lot to offer."
"My big aim now is a fourth Tour."
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