Armstrong pulls out of Leadville mountain race
LEADVILLE, Colo. – Lance Armstrong has pulled out of the Leadville Trail 100 mountain bike race in Colorado, a high-altitude race he won in record time last year.
Armstrong spokesman Mark Higgins said Tuesday that the cyclist is still feeling lingering effects of a hip injury suffered in a crash early in the Tour de France. Higgins said Armstrong also wants to spend time with his family before his children begin school.
Saturday’s race starts 10,500 feet and climbs 2,000 more feet. Armstrong won last year in a record time of 6 hours, 28 minutes, 50 seconds.
Armstrong also has been dealing with renewed questions about drug use during his career since ex-teammate Floyd Landis made allegations against him and other riders this spring. Federal investigators have been looking at lawsuits containing old accusations against Armstrong and have reached out to question his sponsors.
Race co-founder Ken Chlouber is holding out hope that Armstrong will change his mind. He said Armstrong looked good Sunday when he rode the course with fellow pro cyclist Jeremy “JHK” Horgan-Kobelski of Boulder.
Last year, Armstrong dethroned six-time defending champion Dave Wiens, who came in second in 6:57:01 a year after holding off the seven-time Tour de France champ by about two minutes.
“I want him to come back and defend his title,” Chlouber said. “I think he’ll be here. If you just want my upfront bet, I’d bet you that he’s going to be here. But if not, that’s fine because we’ve got 1,560 riders that are going to be here.”
Chlouber said Armstrong’s RadioShack teammate, Levi Leipheimer, is among those who will compete in the race, the nation’s highest-altitude endurance test.
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