Lance Armstrong considers starting new cancer foundation

Lance Armstrong considers starting new cancer foundation

Credit: AFP PHOTO/Getty Images

US cyclist Lance Armstrong gives a press conference to present the Livestrong campaign of his foundation on May 5, 2009 at the Gemelli hospital in Rome, a few days before taking part in the 100th Giro d'Italia starting in Venice on May 9. The Lance Armstrong Foundation 'unite people to fight cancer believing that unity is strength, knowledge is power and atitude is everything'. AFP PHOTO / TIZIANA FABI

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by BRYCE MILLER

USA TODAY Sports

Posted on July 14, 2014 at 10:44 AM

Lance Armstrong said he would consider starting a new foundation to combat cancer if he is not allowed to return to Livestrong, the iconic charity he created.

Armstrong, a 42-year-old cancer survivor, said he is weighing options to ramp up his involvement in fighting the disease as leaders at Livestrong offer conflicting opinions about his future with the organization.

Armstrong told The Des Moines Register in an exclusive interview that "if I'm not welcome" at Livestrong, he would either start another foundation, "which is probably the most likely scenario, or just be willing and able to help, wherever I'm asked."

A recent profile in Esquire magazine reported that Livestrong President Doug Ulman said a door was open to Armstrong's return to the foundation. The charity removed Armstrong in November 2012, a month after he was stripped of seven Tour de France titles and slapped with a lifetime competition ban by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency.

Livestrong board chairman Jeff Garvey released a statement to the Associated Press, however, that indicated Armstrong's return to the foundation "in any capacity is not on the table."

Armstrong, who plans to participate in his sixth RAGBRAI ride next week, started the Lance Armstrong Foundation in 1997 after his own battle with testicular cancer. The organization, based in his hometown of Austin, Texas, has raised more than an estimated $500 million.

The possibility of a return to Livestrong was wholly unexpected, Armstrong said.

"I was surprised by that. That was never the impression I'd been given," he said. "To see the follow-up statement by the chairman, Jeff Garvey, that was more in line with where I think they are.

"That's beyond my control. I can't force that issue. But what I can do (is) stay committed to the fight, stay committed to the cause."

When asked how he would respond if Livestrong did ask him to return, Armstrong paused to consider his potential answer.

"That is a very, very tricky question," he said. "I'd have to ... I don't have the answer right now. That would have to involve a lot of conversation.

"I'm a big believer in the whole (author) Jim Collins theory of 'Who's on the bus? Who'd been on the bus? Who wanted to get off the bus? Who wants to get off the bus now?' So we might have to look at who's on the bus."

Armstrong countered, though, that the chance of a return seemed remote — or worse.

"I don't see that happening anytime soon," he said. "In fact, I'm almost certain that's not going to happen."

In the Esquire profile, Armstrong estimated he seeded the foundation with $7 million to $8 million of his own money.

Armstrong routinely and quietly stays in contact with individuals fighting cancer, but has acknowledged searching for a bigger role for the first time since the tumult of 2012.

"I think it's convenient for them to put me on the sidelines, but I'm not staying on the sidelines," he said.

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