I think everyone knew this was coming

(CNN) -- Cyclist Lance Armstrong confirmed Tuesday that he will be returning to road racing and will shoot for an eighth win at the Tour de France.

"I have decided to return to professional cycling in order to raise awareness of the global cancer burden," the seven-time Tour de France champion said in a statement issued by his LiveStrong Foundation.

Armstrong told CNN that he will not comment further until September 24 when he will formally announce his return to pro-cycling at a Clinton Global Initiative event.

The announcement comes a day after VeloNews, a respected cycling journal, broke the news citing unnamed sources that Armstrong was coming out of retirement.

In an exclusive interview with Vanity Fair posted Tuesday on the magazine's Web site, Armstrong said he is certain he will compete in the Tour de France next summer.

"I'm going back to professional cycling," he told the magazine. "I'm going to try and win an eighth Tour de France."

On Monday, VeloNews said Armstrong will compete in five races in France, California and Georgia.

The publication said the 36-year-old would race with the Astana team, taking no salary or bonuses, and post results of all anti-doping blood tests online in an effort to "prove he is a clean athlete."

Johan Bruyneel, now with team Astana, is Armstrong's friend and longtime team director. He sent a text message to an Associated Press reporter in Paris, France, saying he did not want to comment now. Tour officials kept Astana from racing in the 2008 Tour de France because of doping violations, according to AP.

Armstrong was diagnosed at age 25 with advanced testicular cancer but, with aggressive treatment, beat the disease. He went on to win cycling's most challenging road race, the Tour de France, a record seven times.

He also serves as chairman of the LiveStrong Foundation, which has raised tens of millions of dollars for cancer research, education and patient support.


Armstrong is not the only athlete to retire and then change their mind. Michael Jordan left the National Basketball Association in 1993 to play professional baseball. But he came back to the NBA and won three championships.

Brett Favre retired this year from Greenbay Packers, only to return to the gridiron as a New York Jet. Baseball legend Roger Clemens has retired and come back at least twice, only to retire again recently.

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Uploaded 09/10/2008
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