Cycling: Armstrong pulls out of Athens

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The Independent Online

Lance Armstrong will miss the Athens Olympics because he wants to spend time with his three children. Asked if he would compete at the Games next month, he said yesterday: "I've thought a lot about this and the answer is I shouldn't even say 'probably not', I should say 'no'."

Armstrong, who is seeking a record sixth straight Tour de France title, said he spent two months away from his children early this year and another three months away before the Tour.

"It's really hard to do, and so I want to go home," the Texan said. "I've done the Olympics many times and if I don't have 100 per cent motivation for something that's an important event, a very important event, then I don't want to take somebody else's spot."

Armstrong was 13th in the road race at the 2000 Sydney Games and won a bronze medal in the time trial - his first medal in three Olympics. He said that the Athens Games, which start on 13 August, were coming "at an awkward time" because the Tour de France is not scheduled to finish until 25 July.

* A fresh rift opened up between David Millar and Cofidis yesterday when a meeting between the Scot, who confessed to using illegal drugs to police last week, and his team did not take place after he argued he had not been informed in time. Millar, who has been suspended by the British Cycling Federation over the same affair, communicated via his lawyer at the last minute that he would not be able to appear, stating he had not received enough notice.