Cyclist Lance Armstrong is retiring — or re-retiring, two-plus years into a comeback attempt that never quite got him back to the heights of his career.
Armstrong came back from testicular cancer to win the Tour de France a record seven times and channeled that into raising millions of dollars for cancer research. In recent years he’s also been dogged by (never proven) allegations that he used performance enhancers during his Tour run.
“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,” he says in a statement.
Armstrong initially retired in 2005, shortly after winning his seventh consecutive Tour de France. He got back on the bike in 2008 and finished third in the 2009 race. Last year he finished 23rd after a crash in the first mountain stage took him out of contention.
“I can’t say I have any regrets,” Armstrong says in an interview with the AP. “It’s been an excellent ride. I really thought I was going to win another tour.”
He’s been accused several times of using performance enhancers: He was cleared of doping in an investigation by the International Cycling Union after the French newspaper L’Equipe published allegations that he tested positive for a banned substance during his first Tour de France win in 1999. Fellow cyclist Floyd Landis — who was stripped of the 2006 Tour title after failing a drug test — has also accused him of doping and teaching other riders how to cheat; those allegations are now the subject of a federal investigation that will likely drag on for some time.
He also used his comeback story, however, as a vehicle to raise millions of dollars for cancer research through his Livestrong Foundation. From its founding in 1997 through the end of last year, the foundation has raised more than $400 million.