Lance Armstrong To Compete In California Tour Normally, the Tour of California bicycle race doesn't generate news beyond the cycling community. However, this year's race is different. The nine-day event, which starts Saturday, will be Lance Armstrong's first major U.S. road race since announcing last year that he was coming out of retirement.
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Lance Armstrong To Compete In California Tour

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Lance Armstrong To Compete In California Tour

Lance Armstrong To Compete In California Tour

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STEVE INSKEEP, Host:

Here's NPR's Tom Goldman.

TOM GOLDMAN: Reporters hoping for an honest group session on doping - think Alex Rodriguez times four - were disappointed. Hamilton said he's not looking back. Basso spoke in Italian about things other than drugs. And Landis, who was stripped of his 2006 Tour de France title, crashed during practice.

GOLDMAN: Fortunately, he is OK He is pretty bruised up. His hip is OK, and we expect him to start the race on Saturday.

GOLDMAN: So that left master of ceremonies Michael Roth, who works for the company putting on the race, to introduce the man everyone really turned up for. Lance Armstrong sat on the dais wearing a dark T-shirt and an off-white baseball cap pulled low. He calmly fielded a few questions about doping until he called on Paul Kimmage. He's a reporter for the Sunday Times of London and a professed anti-doping crusader. Kimmage thinks Landis and Basso were guilty of doping despite their claims of innocence, and he criticized Armstrong for welcoming them back after their suspensions recently ended.

GOLDMAN: What is it about these dopers that you seem to admire so much?

GOLDMAN: Excuse me? What is your name again?

GOLDMAN: My name is Paul Kimmage. I work for the Sunday Times. I asked for an interview, but I didn't get one.

GOLDMAN: Armstrong, a cancer survivor who said his comeback in large part was to raise global awareness about the disease, was controlled but angry as he explained to Kimmage why he didn't grant an interview.

GOLDMAN: When I decided to come back, for what I think is a very noble reason, you said: Folks, the cancer has been in remission for four years, but our cancer has now returned - meaning me. So I think it goes without saying, no, we're not going to sit down and do an interview. You are not worth the chair that you're sitting on with a statement like that.

GOLDMAN: Tom Goldman, NPR News, Sacramento.

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