Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Lance Armstrong to come out of retirement

Seven-time champion Lance Armstrong will come out of retirement and compete in next year's Tour de France, VeloNews reported Monday, citing sources close to the situation.
Armstrong, who will turn 37 on Sept. 18, will join the Astana team and compete in five road races, the sources told VeloNews.
He will compete in the Amgen Tour of California, Paris-Nice, the Tour de Georgia, the Dauphine-Libere and the Tour de France. The sources told VeloNews that Armstrong will receive no salary or bonuses.

And here is where it gets really interesting ... because I can always find the racing angle...

Are you familiar with The Butterfly Effect? It states that small changes in the initial condition of a dynamic system can result in large variations over the long term.
Despite being a guy who competed in a comparatively obscure sport like Cycling, Lance Armstrong has become one of the most recognizable names in all of sport. He’s up there in the “Tiger Woods” and “Michael Jordan” level of recognition, due largely to his compelling story of overcoming a life-threatening bout with cancer and emerging victorious in an unmatched SEVEN straight victories in the Tour De France. But you already knew that.
Armstrong retired from cycling in 2005, deciding to dedicate more time to his children, his numerous charities, and any number of smitten Hollywood starlets. It’s hard work but somebody’s gotta do it, right?
By casting all of that aside in 2009 to train for a return to the Tour De France next July, Armstrong has suddenly guaranteed that millions of otherwise passive sports fans will once again be watching cycling on TV. Yes, just as the presence of “Tiger” in a golf tournament dramatically increases the TV ratings, Lance’s historic attempt to return to glory will likely provide a huge boon for the network of the Tour De France.
And that network? Oh, that would be Versus. You know, that channel that was just handed all but a handful of IRL races next year.
Maybe the popularity of Armstrong’s quest will help get Versus in those missing 20 million homes. Maybe those fans of Lance figure out what channel Versus occupies on their cable provider’s list. Maybe while watching Armstrong they get to see lots of ads for events featuring Danica! and Helio! and the rest. Maybe next summer they stop by for the cycling but stay for the higher speed racing action. Maybe all of this “maybe” stuff makes it easier for the league and it’s teams to sell all sorts of sponsorship packages.

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