The Tour de France champ says goodbye, while others predict what's next
Lance Armstrong won the Tour de France Sunday, as organizers stopped the clock early due to slippery conditions in Paris. The victory is Armstrong’s seventh in as many years – and, as he announced in April, it will be his last.
“I’m ready to move on,” he told USA Today before the Tour’s final stages. “I know in my heart of hearts that it is absolutely the right decision.”
The crowd in Paris Sunday included celebrities such as Lindsay Lohan and Michael Keaton, in town to promote Herbie: Fully Loaded. Lohan, who described seeing the race as “a once in a lifetime” experience, told PEOPLE of Armstrong, “He’s someone who’s gone through so much in his life and then still helps people. I think he’s an inspiration. People forget about people like Lance, and they ought to focus more on people like him and less on people like me and where I go out at night.”
Also cheering on Armstrong: His girlfriend of more than a year, singer Sheryl Crow, 43, who spent most of the day with Armstrong’s twin daughters, Grace and Isabelle, 3, on her lap. Asked whether she was crying while Armstrong took his prize, she smiled and told PEOPLE, “I might have been.”
The 33-year-old Texan said at an April 18 press conference that he would end his professional racing career after this year’s competition, explaining that his children had told him “it’s time to come home.” Armstrong and his ex-wife, Kristin, who split in 2003, are parents to Luke, 5, as well as Grace and Isabelle.
With Sunday’s win, Armstrong made good on his hope to go out on top. A testicular-cancer survivor, he is the only person to have won the Tour de France seven times. Three men – Jacques Anquetil (1961-64), Eddy Merckx (1969-72) and Miguel Indurain (1991-95) – won five.
President Bush made a call to Armstrong on Sunday, offering the fellow Texan his congratulations.
“Lance is an incredible inspiration to people from all walks of life, and he has lifted the spirits of those who face life’s challenges,” Bush said.
Meanwhile, others are making predictions about what Armstrong’s next move might be. Former presidential candidate John Kerry said the cycling star would be a natural for politics. “I think he’d be awesome, he’d be a force. I just hope it’s for the right party,” said the Democratic senator, according to the Associated Press.