Armstrong pulls out of Tour of Ireland

Lance Armstrong, stage 3, Tour of Ireland 2009

Lance Armstrong was one of the riders who could have challenged Russell Downing for overall victory at the Tour of Ireland on Sunday but the Texan preferred to pull out before tackling St Patrick’s Hill.

The sudden turn onto the steep Baker’s Road on the outskirts of Cork surprised Armstrong and, with his back playing up, he opted to head to the Astana bus after first time through the finish.

It was his last road race of the 2009 season. It was also the first race he failed to finish apart from the Vuelta Castilla y Leon where he crashed and broke his collarbone.

After the Tour of Ireland, Armstrong flew to Dublin to attend the Livestrong Global Cancer Summit organised by his foundation.

“It wasn’t my day,” Armstrong told reporters after a warm shower eased the pain of racing in the rain.

“My back was out today. It was just bad today. And when your back is out, everything is out. And on a circuit like this, with steep climbs, explosive, it wasn’t going to happen."

"On that fast downhill with the lefthander with the steep wall there, I didn’t know it was coming. Going from 80k (an hour) to 10 there were guys were dropping chains. It wasn’t my day.”

Armstrong may ride a mountain bike race this year but he is already focused on the 2010 season.  

He will be 38 on September 18 but will try to take on Alberto Contador with his own RadioShack team and try to win an eighth Tour de France.

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