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TC's boy takes Lance out for a 27K ride
Bush takes Armstrong for ride
Sun, 21 Aug 2005
US President George W. Bush led seven-time Tour de France champion and fellow Texan Lance Armstrong on a two-hour bicycle tour of his ranch as temperatures soared near 38 degrees Celsius.
At the end of the 27-kilometre ride, Bush presented Armstrong and other riders with shirts bearing the words 'Peloton 1' on the back and 'Tour de Crawford' on the front, White House spokesman Trent Duffy told reporters.
Asked whether Armstrong had followed Bush's rule against passing the president, Duffy replied: "He respected the first rule of biking."
The bikers stopped midway on their trek across the Prairie Chapel ranch for a 10-minute break near a waterfall on the 1 600-acre (650-hectare) property, and Bush invited everyone to go swimming in his pool after the ride.
And the president, who also gave his guests riding socks with the presidential seal, offered understated praise for Armstrong's skills, saying: "He's a good rider."
Armstrong had said last week that Bush rides his bicycle "fanatically" ever since a knee injury forced him to give up jogging.
"I can tell you he is one competitive dude," the cycling hero and cancer survivor told ABC television, noting that "there's no talking" when you ride with the president.
Duffy declined to say whether the president and Armstrong had discussed the bike champion's efforts to promote cancer research, or his coy suggestions that he may be considering a political career and even following in Bush's footsteps as governor of Texas.
Armstrong told ABC that his public ruminations about seeking public office were "more or less a joke," because "it would mimic exactly what I've done, a ton of stress and a ton of time away from my kids."
"Why would I want to go from pro cycling, which is stressful and a lot of time away, straight into politics?" said Armstrong, who counts both Bush and his 2004 rival for the White House, Democratic Senator John Kerry, as friends.
Armstrong declined to pick sides in that political battle, and has said that past comments seemingly critical of the war in Iraq were not meant as rebukes to Bush.
After winning a record seventh Tour de France crown, Armstrong told USA Today that money spent on the conflict in Iraq was money that could not be spent to promote cancer research.
"The biggest downside to a war in Iraq is what you could do with that money. What does a war in Iraq cost a week? A billion? Maybe a billion a day? The budget for the National Cancer Institute is four billion. That has to change. It needs to become a priority again," he said.
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