Austin, Texas — Lance Armstrong is getting back on his bike, determined to win an eighth Tour de France.
Armstrong's return from cancer to win the Tour a record seven consecutive times made him a hero to cancer patients worldwide and elevated cycling to an unprecedented level in America.
The 36-year-old Armstrong told Vanity Fair in an exclusive interview posted on its Web site Tuesday that he was inspired to return after finishing second last month in the Leadville 100, a lung-searing 100-mile mountain bike race through the Colorado Rockies.
"This kind of obscure bike race, totally kick-started my engine," he told the magazine. "I'm going to try and win an eighth Tour de France."
The sport and particularly the Tour have missed his star power, even though he has been a controversial figure at times.
The 2009 Tour "is the intention," Armstrong's spokesman Mark Higgins told the Associated Press, "but we've got some homework to do over there."
In a video statement on his foundation's Web site, Armstrong said details - such as a team and schedule - will be announced Sept. 24 at the Clinton Global Initiative in New York City.
In the Vanity Fair interview, Armstrong told the magazine he's 100 percent sure he's going to compete in the Tour next summer.
Age will be an issue for Armstrong in the Tour de France. He'll be 37 next week, ancient for such a grueling competition. Only one rider older than 34 has ever won the Tour - 36-year-old Firmin Lambot in 1922.