Tom Brokaw Interviews Lance Armstrong
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What about mountain biking with President Bush? Has he gotten in touch with you to ride with him?
I did it in August and, you know, I took him easy.

Ha!
I have to say he tried. He's very competitive, as you know. I actually like him, personally. He's a likable guy. I don't necessarily agree with his politics all the time.

He's a guy's guy.
Man, he was going for it. I mean, he had the bike, the equipment, the heart rate monitor. He was huffing and puffing.

Some people talk about you and Texas politics. Have you thought about that?
Yeah, I think about it all the time. But two things: We have to get on top of the cancer problem. If we can get on top of that, we as a community of cancer fighters, then that opens up my time for other things, which could include politics. The second thing, which is even more serious, is that I'm just not sure I want to expose myself and my family to that. I've seen a level of cynicism and dirty play in sport that I don't ever want to see again, and I think politics is maybe 100 times worse.

A friend of mine said if you want to run for office you've got to be prepared to take a bath, in public, at the busiest intersection, naked, every day, at high noon.
Yeah. See, I can take the bath every once in a while, but not every day. In sports it's about drugs. In politics it's about where your mate's from, who you've slept with, did you inhale.

Are both parties coming after you to appear with their candidates?
I'm up-front with them: I can't make any political statements or affiliations, because as soon as I do, my effectiveness in the fight against cancer is cut in half. I have to be apolitical. Obviously, I have political views, but they're mine and are going to stay mine.

What's going to happen in July, when the Tour de France starts? Will you watch it?
You know, I don't miss it at all. I miss the training. I miss the team atmosphere. I miss my guys. But the last couple of years I would even say I hated racing. The only peaceful times were when I was at training camps, alone or with a few teammates, or at the races, in the hotel room, at the dinner table with my guys. That's the stuff I really love. I won't miss the Tour.

People ask me if I miss the news, and I say I get a rush when there's a big story, but it goes away quickly. When I think about getting on an airplane, having to fly somewhere, living on two hours of sleep a night, it's...
Let me sound on that: The Tour is all I did. It's all I lived for. It's probably not fair to answer that question until we get to July. I mean, in July I may start pulling my hair out, 'cause it's the one race that I lived for. But I suspect not. I know that I can never go back.

How involved will you be with the team?
Um, somewhat involved. Not as much as I'd like to be, because of scheduling. They're in Europe and I'm in the States. I talk to Johan Bruyneel daily, who is the director of the team, but I don't go to training.

Do you worry at all about being perishable as a spokesman now that you're off the Tour, or do you think it'll stick?
What do you mean?

Lance Armstrong, winner of seven Tours, is up here, but now Lance Armstrong doesn't race anymore. He's not in the sports pages every day. Does that affect you?
No. But on a fundraising level, our biggest month has been July. Wristband sales, donations, attention, exposure to the disease: It's July. And that's not going to happen again. But that's the reason I have to try to fix the process, because if we get any big victories... I asked the president for a billion dollars when I was there. And if I had gotten that it would have been game over. That would eclipse any Tour.

I imagine you get swamped with offers for speaking engagements and endorsements and such. How many do you get a week?
Well, the endorsements – those dollars are big, so they don't come along all the time.