By Nigel Wynn
Lance Armstrong has officially announced his retirement from competitive cycling, saying that he wishes to devote his time to his family and continue his work with the LiveStrong cancer foundation.
"Today, I am announcing my retirement from professional cycling in order to devote myself full-time to my family, to the fight against cancer and to leading the foundation I established before I won my first Tour de France," said Armstrong in a press statement issued on Wednesday.
"In 2009, I returned to professional cycling with the LiveStrong Global Cancer Campaign to raise awareness of the toll taken by this disease.
"We've come a long way in two years, spurring new investments, strengthening partnerships with the cancer community and beginning to ease the stigma faced by millions of survivors.
"I'm humbled and grateful for the outpouring of support our campaign and our partners received. But we have a long way to go. Cancer is now the world's leading cause of death and for 28 million of us, survivorship is a daily fact of life," Armstrong continued.
"My focus now is raising my five children, promoting the mission of LiveStrong, and growing entrepreneurial ventures with our great corporate partners in the fight against cancer."
Armstrong's last outing at an international cycle race was at the Tour Down Under, Australia, in January for the RadioShack team he founded in 2010.
It was rumoured that Armstrong would ride the Tour of California in May, but from his latest statement it appears that the Texan has quit cycling for good.
Armstrong is currently at the centre of an on-going investigation by the US Food and Drink Administration into doping during his career as a result of allegations made by former US Postal team-mate Floyd Landis.
Earlier, Armstrong had said during an interview with Associated Press: "I can't control what goes on in regards to the investigation, that's why I hire people to help me with that.
"I try not to let it bother me and just keep rolling right along. I know what I know. I know what I do and I know what I did. That's not going to change."
Armstrong previously retired from cycling in July 2005, but made a comeback in January 2009. Asked about whether he regretted coming back from his first 'retirement', he said: "I can't say I have any regrets. It's been an excellent ride. I really thought I was going to win another Tour."
"Then I lined up like everybody else and wound up third."
Armstrong won the Tour de France on seven occasions: 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004 and 2005. He won the world championship road race in 1993.
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