Armstrong leads B.C. rides against cancer

BOB MACKIN -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 7:50 AM ET

VANCOUVER -- Lance Armstrong spent the weekend in British Columbia to seek a cure for cancer, not the doping crisis that threatens the race that made him famous.

That's why the cancer survivor and seven-time Tour de France champion wouldn't comment on disgraced 2006 winner Floyd Landis, who lost a bid last week to overturn a positive test for synthetic testosterone.

"I'd love to answer the question, but I'm out of that business," Armstrong said at a Sunday news conference. "I'm here to fight cancer."

Armstrong headlined the inaugural B.C. Cancer Foundation Tour of Courage, which

raised $1.8 million for blood cancer research. He led an 80-kilometre ride around south Kelowna on Saturday for 46 people who raised or donated a minimum $20,000 each.

About 400 cyclists joined him at Thunderbird Stadium for yesterday's community ride. Adults raised or donated $1,000 each; the minimum for teenagers was $200.

Armstrong's peloton included retired Tour de France veterans Steve Bauer of Canada and Axel Merckx of Belgium and British cycling commentator Phil Liggett. B.C. Premier Gordon Campbell and Kelowna-Mission MLA Sindi Hawkins, herself a cancer survivor, also participated.

It wasn't the first time 36-year-old Texan Armstrong pedaled in Vancouver. He won the 1991 Gastown Grand Prix road race in the city's historical district.

"Up to that point it was probably one of my biggest victories -- Gastown Grand Prix, everybody talked about it," he said. "I came here not necessarily being a criterium specialist, but was able to win."

Armstrong said B.C.'s strong cancer research and fundraising network made his involvement in the Tour of Courage an easy decision. He hinted at a return.

"We need passionate people, we need people that are motivated to fight this war and that's what you guys have," he said.


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