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Lance Armstrong kicks off his 50 days to Tour de France campaign

May 14, 2010 |  6:35 pm

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Wearing a baseball cap and some insecurity, cyclist Lance Armstrong (above) spoke Friday in Sacramento about finding doubt in himself, something he's not accustomed to finding.

Armstrong, 38, is part of the new RadioShack team that will try to get Levi Leipheimer his fourth straight Amgen Tour of California title. The eight-stage race begins Sunday with a trip from Nevada City to Sacramento and finishes with three Southern California stages including the first mountain finish Friday in Big Bear, a testing time trial Saturday around Los Angeles with the start and finish at downtown's LA Live and a physically challenging and hilly circuit race May 23 through Thousand Oaks.

In July, Armstrong will try to win an eighth Tour de France title and Friday Armstrong said he's not sure yet if that's a realistic goal.

"We've had some glimpses and then maybe some false starts," Armstrong said of his training this season that was interrupted by a viral illness during the European spring season. "It has not been easy or smooth. I don't think we're pulling the fire alarm, but now is the time the signs need to start pointing up."

Armstrong and his mentor, Johan Bruyneel, said this Tour of California is the start of Armstrong's 50-day approach -- 50 days to prepare for France and put any other distractions aside. Besides the eight-day California race, Armstrong will pick either the Dauphine or Tour of Switzerland next month as a final competitive preparation, do a week of training in the Alps and Pyrenees and put on hold all the travel and work he does for his Lance Armstrong Foundation.

For more on Friday's news conference, check out www.latimes.com/sports later.

-- Diane Pucin

Photo credit: Doug Pensinger / Getty Images

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