How Lance Decided this Would Be His Last Tour de France

06.29.2010 | 10:42 am

The cycling world is all a-flutter with the latest news about Lance Armstrong, announced — as is all important news these days — via Twitter:


As a cycling fan, chances are you have already seen this tweet, or at least heard about it.

What you do not know (until now of course) is why Lance has decided — again — to retire (again).

The truth is, I helped him arrive at that decision.

A Fateful Phone Call

A couple nights ago, Lance called me. He does that a couple times per week. The conversation went like this:

Me: Hello?

Lance: Hey, Fatty. It’s Mellow Johnny.

Me: Hi Lance.

Lance: Hey, I want a nickname too. Call me “Mellow Johnny,” OK?

Me: OK. Did you know it’s 4:18AM here, Mellow Johnny?

Lance: Oh, sorry. I can never remember whether to add or subtract five hours.

Me: Don’t worry about it. You sound kind of down. What’s going on?

Lance: My goiter. Hurts like crazy, Fatty.

Me: You should have the team doctor look at that.

Lance: You think I’m going to let him see this? The whole team would know about it in about ten seconds.

Me: Probably true.

Lance: So I’ve been thinking. Maybe it’s time I hang up the ol’ helmet.

Me: OK.

Lance: But I mean for real this time. For keeps.

Me: OK.

Lance: But if I did that, I’d lose all the perks of the job. I’d never win another TdF.

Me: So keep racing.

Lance: But I think I’m just worn out.

Me: So stop. You’ve had a good, long career.

Lance: But what if I could have had a really good year next year, but I quit this year?

Me: You sound conflicted.

Lance: You don’t know the half of it.

Me: I’ll tell you what. Make yourself a PRO / CON sheet. Highlight the points that matter the most to you. I think that will help you clear up your mind on the matter.

Lance: OK, I’ll get right on that. Thanks, Fatty.

Me: Good night, Mellow Johnny.

PROs and CONs

Then, this morning, I got a priority overnight package from Europe. Curious, I opened it up, and found the following.

Page 1:

And page 2,:


If you ask me, this explains a lot.


  1. Comment by Roger | 06.29.2010 | 10:47 am

    Beautiful. The clincher is the red highlights.

  2. Comment by fbhidy | 06.29.2010 | 11:04 am

    Fatty, he didn’t say he was retiring, he said it was his last TDF. Maybe he wants to ride the Giro and the Veulta next year, that is if the Shack can get an invite to the Vuelta!

  3. Comment by DCNewbie | 06.29.2010 | 11:18 am


    I assume you pushed him over the edge by telling him that you will continue to write about him, no matter what?

  4. Comment by bikemike | 06.29.2010 | 11:44 am

    haha, lol.

  5. Comment by Clydesteve | 06.29.2010 | 11:49 am

    I totaly understand the afternoon naps part. This guy is going to be a wreck by the time he actually gets into upper middle age.

  6. Comment by Golden | 06.29.2010 | 11:51 am

    Actually Chris Carmichael confirmed Lance will be doing Kona in 2011. I think Triathlon is probably a good switch for the aging athlete. In 20 years he’ll still be able to kick but in the 55-60 age group!

  7. Comment by AngieG | 06.29.2010 | 12:16 pm

    I’d imagine by now he likely feels much like a pin cushion. Too bad peeing in a cup isn’t a much sought after job skill.

  8. Comment by MattC | 06.29.2010 | 12:23 pm

    Another hilarious post Fatty! Sheesh…how do you think of this stuff??

    And I apologize Fatty if I’m crossing a line here (please let me know if I am), but I need to get this out:

    Over on the Fatty forums I have a new 2010 Mens White Team Fatty jersey up for auction…it’s the Pink Logo version, along w/ a set of the pink logo arm warmers (large) and pink logo wind vest (medium)…all 3 auctions end TOMORROW afternoon @ 5pm Pacific time. (btw: I won’t take any $$…the winners will pay it directly to my San Jose LIVESTRONG page and I pay shipping). Here’s the link if you are interested:

  9. Comment by MattC | 06.29.2010 | 12:27 pm

    Oh, and I apologize to all of Team Fatty Seattle for not getting the jersey auctioned off a month ago in time for your ride…time just hasn’t been on my side these last few months. I need the day shifted to 26 or better yet, 28 hours…Fatty, can you help with that?

  10. Comment by roan | 06.29.2010 | 12:38 pm

    Nice try Fatty, 4:18 AM, you were dreaming. You still trying to get on the Radio Shack team ??? Your shack was found on RAWROD…remember ? Now if at sometime L.A. (mellow johnny…see you were dreaming) did mention a C-spot bet with ol George.
    Have L.A. tell George that 2 years ago a Seattle sportscaster(football) tried to say George’s placement in the Tour of CA…calling him “Hinc a pea”.
    AKA…passing a kidney stone…that will get ol George off the bike.

  11. Comment by Darth Vader | 06.29.2010 | 12:41 pm

    You sound conflicted. No, YOU sound conflicted.

  12. Comment by vito | 06.29.2010 | 1:22 pm

    Absolutely fantastic!!! Now I’m feeling conflicted.

  13. Comment by randy | 06.29.2010 | 1:36 pm

    Knock knock.
    Who’s there.
    Conflicted… Well, not really.

  14. Comment by aussie kev | 06.29.2010 | 4:38 pm

    one of your best – sooooooooo funny – soldering iron kits !!!!

  15. Comment by Bisso | 06.29.2010 | 5:12 pm

    Actually Lance’s tweet was “this will be final Tour de France”.

    What does Lance know that the UCI doesn’t (apart from Bike Snob’s home phone number)?

  16. Comment by Lorie | 06.29.2010 | 5:25 pm

    I have a goiter, too! cool! Ha!

  17. Comment by KanyonKris | 06.29.2010 | 5:37 pm


  18. Comment by Doug (Way Upstate NY) | 06.29.2010 | 6:31 pm

    Good news. Opens up a spot for you on the team. They are going to need a GC contender.

  19. Comment by Paul | 06.29.2010 | 6:53 pm

    With the tour coming up and all I think Lance and everyone are missing the most excellently awesome – like rad to the power of sick – opportunity to raise money for cancer. It goes like this:

    Each TdF team adds another place to their team roster. That means an additional 22 riders. Each of these places is auctioned or raffled to the general public. All the proceeds go to the charity or charities of choice.

    The winner of each spot gets to ride in the Tour, with the team. ALL tour rules apply to them. That means cut offs.

    The winner of each spot also gets full team kit, including bike.

    The Tour starts with the Prologue. So the first task is to make it through that one. In your team kit and on your team bike.

    The extra riders start before the Pros. If they make it through to the first stage then they get another bike and get to start that stage. This could make a very interesting side race to see the furthest a non pro rider could make it in the Tour. Imagine the possibilities.

    How much would you pay for a ticket to have the chance to win a ride in the Tour?? Exactly.

    Have a chat to Lance Fatty and see what you can come up with.

  20. Comment by Patrick | 06.30.2010 | 1:39 am

    Fatty, you really should do stand-up! I’m almost tempted to say that you announced yourself as the guy who says “I remember when…” on bike rides just to include it as a joke above at the Texans’ expense!

  21. Comment by Mark Kynaston | 06.30.2010 | 2:43 am


    You are a genius sir! That was very very funny.

    What a great way to start my day – laughing out loud in my offcie. I loved the soldering iron and the Phil and Paul comments in particular.

    This should definitley make your Top Posts Roll of Honour in the next few days.

    Keep up the good work


  22. Comment by Cardiac Kid | 06.30.2010 | 5:48 am

    No mention of the Michelob endorsement?? Does that mean he’s keeping it or is trying to transfer it to BSNYC?

  23. Comment by Carl | 06.30.2010 | 7:42 am

    I have started to get the urge to turn right from the left lane… classic!!!

  24. Comment by neil | 06.30.2010 | 8:12 am

    Thanks for almost getting me fired. There I was, subtly reading your post on my BlackBerry during a meeting about warranty costs or something and I burst out laughing. The meeting stops and everyone looks right at me.

  25. Comment by FatPedro | 06.30.2010 | 8:31 am

    ” … Ulrich comes out of retirement …” THAT WOULD SUCK!

    You got me with that one!

  26. Comment by Drew | 06.30.2010 | 8:45 am

    Best post evar!

  27. Comment by NYCCarlos | 06.30.2010 | 9:06 am

    @Paul – I like the idea! I don’t think the risks of having non-pros race WITH the peloton are worth the money for the UCI though, so maybe they could be given a few hours headstart and have them race each other only, or maybe start right after the peloton and just finish an hour or two back from the peloton?

  28. Comment by hb | 06.30.2010 | 4:43 pm

    So why the banner ads for feminine cleansing cloths? I guess its only fair to the ladies since we get ads for DZNuts, but not quite cycling-oriented.

    I have no control over what ads show on my site. Seeing as how they are making me SO MUCH MONEY though, I’m not sure I’m going to keep them around for much longer. – FC

  29. Comment by Dr. Lammler | 06.30.2010 | 10:21 pm

    The real reason for Lance not doing the TdF after this year is:

    To train for the upcoming “Tour Around America”.

  30. Comment by Steve | 07.1.2010 | 3:22 am

    @Paul is a genius. But getting the Frogs to do something that wonderful when they (ASO) won’t even let Team Radio Shack ride in the Vuelta is wishful thinking. But there are certainly other events Tour of California and others that would certainly be a great venue for such an idea. Bravo, Paul!

    And Fatty, I am ashamed at you at publicizing Mello Johnny’s private correspondence simply to entertain us. So ashamed, really…


    Stickinthemud Costanzo

    (shhhhh. I promise not to tell anyone else but do you have any other secret stuff you can tell us about Mello Johnny as well? Like him and JB organizing a major tour in competition with the Vuelta. (Maybe calling it the “Tour Up Your ASO?”)

  31. Comment by MrDaveyGie | 07.1.2010 | 5:31 am

    I told Lance basically the same thing when he calleed.

  32. Comment by K.S. | 07.4.2010 | 12:17 pm

    LOVE it!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Wishing Lance the best this year, as always. :)

  33. Comment by Cycling Jersey | 07.4.2010 | 4:09 pm

    That was hilarious – lol

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    [...] How Lance Decided this Would Be His Last Tour de France – As a cycling fan, chances are you have already seen this tweet, or at least heard about it. What you do not know (until now of course) is why Lance has decided — again — to retire (again). The truth is, I helped him arrive at that decision. (fatcyclist) [...]

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