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Lance Armstrong is back and relaxed

January 16, 2009 | 10:10 pm


ADELAIDE, Australia -- Lance Armstrong gave a wide-ranging, 65-minute, no-holds-barred, humor-filled, uncontenious news conference where questions came fast and furious about doping (he's being tested by Los Angeles expert Don Catlin, starting here), his age (don't call him old), his cancer recovery, the pending birth of his fourth child (due in June, after the Giro d'Italia, before the Tour de France), his motivations in making a cycling comeback (many), reports of whether he's taking appearance fees from races (he is), and whether he feels like Jesus Christ (Armstrong feels he's not as multitalented as Christ but pointed out that Christ never rode a bike as far as we know).

And if you watch the Tour Down Under when Versus begins coverage Sunday, you will likely notice two numbers painted on Armstrong's bike. The first is 1,274, which is the number of days between the last time Armstrong stood on the podium as winner of the Tour de France and the beginning of this new phase of his career, and 27.5, which is 27.5 million, the number of people in the world who have died because of cancer in those 1,274 days. So there's one clue about cancer-survivor Armstrong's reason for returning to the sport as a 37-year-old more than three years past his greatest triumphs.

-- Diane Pucin

Photo: Lance Armstrong takes questions from the media during a news conference at the Tour Down Under in Adelaide, Australia, on Saturday. Credit: Aman Sharma / Associated Press