Seven-time Tour de France champion Lance Armstrong enjoyed a nice third place at this year’s Tour. However, it almost didn’t even happen, according to his team manager and friend, Johan Bruyneel. Lance suffered a broken collarbone back in March which resulted from a crash in the Vuelta Castilla y León. The injury nearly put the brakes on the star’s comeback. “If I didn’t enjoy it I wouldn’t be back. There were days that I didn’t enjoy. I had the first major crash of my career. Sitting on the side of the road in Spain, headed to an anonymous hospital, I didn’t enjoy that, and I wanted to never come back. But to be honest, it was a conversation I had with (Bruyneel), and he said, ‘You have no choice in this issue, you have to come back.’ Outside of that period, I did enjoy it,” Lance said. “They were not easy conversations,” Bruyneel said. After the crash, Armstrong went to Bruyneel’s house in Madrid for dinner and wine, and the next day, Armstrong flew home to the US for surgery. “The week after the surgery, first there was the recovery, then getting back on the bike and looking forward toward his only one chance to be competitive in the Tour, and that meant he had to start the Giro. That was not very bright to look at, and all of sudden I kind of felt like he went quiet. There was a certain distance I had not felt with him in a long time. I could also feel that the people around him started to be worried. I discovered that he was giving second thoughts to the comeback. At the same moment I was in the hospital with my wife, she was having a baby. I remember I had a few phone calls from the hospital with him, and at a certain moment, I could feel he was really down. I had a feeling he was ready to walk away. And I said, ‘You have no option. You cannot not do the comeback,’” Bruyneel said. What really sealed the deal is when Bruyneel reminded Lance of his own quote; “Pain is temporary, but quitting lasts forever.”
Via Velo News.