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Lance Armstrong sets goal for 2017 to return to cancer fight

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Lance Armstrong has a message for the cancer-fighting community: He wants back in.

Armstrong, 45, listed rejoining the cancer fight as a difference-maker as a top goal for the next year.

The disgraced cyclist was diagnosed with testicular cancer in 1996 and started the Lance Armstrong Foundation (later changed to Livestrong) in 1997.

He won a record seven straight Tour de France titles from 1999 through 2005, but in 2012 was banned for life and stripped of those titles for doping. His ties with Livestrong were also severed in 2012.

“I think I know how to effect change. I’ve done it for a long time,” Armstrong said in a podcast posted Sunday. “It’s obviously touched my life significantly, continues to touch all of our lives on a daily basis. I want back in that fight. It’s not through Livestrong. It’s not through, probably, places you would think, but I want in. I’ve got my gloves on, and I want to fight, and I want to effect change and make a difference.

“I’ve seen the fight against cancer for 20 years. … I got to learn it as I built an organization that, I think, did great things. And then I’ve seen it as a cynic and as a skeptic and as a person that’s 10 steps removed from the fight. … I can help.”

Armstrong also said his last legal case, a federal lawsuit that could cost him $100 million, is set to go to trial in May.

“That’s a big deal for me and my family,” Armstrong said. “But the trial, which basically takes a month, isn’t a goal. The goal is to get that part of my life behind me and move forward.”

In 2014, Armstrong reportedly said he might start a new cancer foundation.

Armstrong competed in the 1992, 1996 and 2000 Olympics.

In 2013, he was stripped of his only Olympic medal, a bronze from the Sydney 2000 time trial, where former U.S. Postal Service teammate Viatcheslav Ekimov took gold and longtime rival Jan Ullrich, who admitted to blood doping during his career, took silver.

MORE: Armstrong intrigued by ultra marathon, obstacle-course races

Annemiek van Vleuten wins La Course with epic comeback (video)

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Annemiek van Vleuten, the cyclist who returned from a horrific Rio Olympic road race crash to become world champion, repeated as La Course winner with an epic last-kilometer comeback on Tuesday.

Van Vleuten sprinted from several seconds behind countrywoman Anna van der Breggen to win the one-day race, including four categorized climbs, contested on part of the Tour de France stage 10 course later that day.

“With 300 meters to go, I still thought I got second, and then I saw her dying,” Van Vleuten said, adding later, according to Cyclingnews.com, “With 500 meters to go my team director in the car gave up and stopped cheering for me.”

In Rio, van Vleuten suffered three small spine fractures and a concussion when her brakes appeared to lock, and she flipped over into a ditch during the road race. Van Vleuten was alone in the lead at the time with about seven miles to go of the 87-mile course.

She was eventually hospitalized in intensive care.

Van der Breggen went on to win the Olympic title, while van Vleuten returned quick enough to race at the October 2016 World Championships.

Van Vleuten, 35, won her first world title 13 months after the Rio Games, taking the time trial crown ahead of van der Breggen by 12 seconds. She also won the 10-stage Giro Rosa that concluded on Sunday.

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Greg Van Avermaet triples Tour de France lead in first mountain stage

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Belgian Greg Van Avermaet more than tripled his Tour de France overall lead in the first day in the mountains on Tuesday, but Wednesday may be his last day in the yellow jersey.

Julian Alaphilippe became the first Frenchman to win a stage in this year’s Tour, claiming the 10th stage that included three first-category climbs and a beyond-category climb but ended with a descent and the contenders together in the peloton.

Van Avermaet finished fourth, 1:44 behind Alaphilippe. More importantly, Van Avermaet crossed the Grand-Bornand finish line 1:39 ahead of a group that included most of the main contenders to top the podium in Paris on July 29.

The Olympic road race champion increased his overall lead from 43 seconds to 2:22.

Van Avermaet has worn the maillot jaune for a week straight, but he is not a climber, and the biggest test of the Tour thus far is imminent.

“No disrespect, but he’s not going to win the Tour,” said Team Sky’s Geraint Thomas, who is in second place.

The Tour continues with stage 11, live on NBCSN and NBC Sports Gold on Wednesday (full broadcast schedule here). The 67-mile stage starts in the 1992 Winter Olympic host Albertville and includes two beyond-category climbs. It concludes with a category-one summit at La Rosière.

“Tomorrow’s a climber’s day,” Van Avermaet said. “It will be super hard to keep [the yellow jersey]. … Tomorrow it will be over.”

Chris Froome, eyeing a record-tying fifth Tour de France title, is best placed of the pre-Tour favorites.

Froome is in sixth place and 3:21 behind Van Avermaet. Froome is followed by Spaniard Mikel Landa in the same time and 2014 Tour winner Vincenzo Nibali another six seconds back.

Colombian Rigoberto Uran, the 2017 Tour runner-up, finished 2:36 behind the group with Froome, Landa and Nibali.

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