Aspen offers seamless fit for Lance Armstrong | VailDaily.com

Aspen offers seamless fit for Lance Armstrong

John Henderson
The Denver Post

ASPEN – The wiry, middle-aged cyclist in the black Mellow Johnny’s Bike Shop jersey rolled to a stop Wednesday at the top of Independence Pass. Unlike the nearby tourists scurrying up to the lookout point of the Continental Divide, Lance Armstrong only looked at his teammate, Levi Leipheimer, sitting on the rear fender of their black support van. Armstrong has seen these massive Rockies, still flecked with snow under a turquoise sky, too many times to count.

The seven-time Tour de France winner is now a Coloradan. Coming out of a 3 1/2-year retirement, Armstrong built a $9 million house in Aspen and will live much of the year here. Just maybe these 20-mile daily training grinds up Independence Pass will help him win Tour No. 8 when the Tour de France begins Saturday in Monaco.

“The altitude will help,” said Armstrong, changing the jersey from his Austin, Texas, bike shop to his trademark yellow-and-black Livestrong. “I’m here more for other reasons. My kids are here. I’ve got the new house here. I love the community, and the people are great.”

Aspen is sprinkled with as many celebrities as snowflakes, yet even a town frequented by the Dalai Lama and Bill Clinton turns its head when Lance Armstrong walks into Matsuhisa on Main Street. Recognition is not a problem.

For more of this Denver Post story: http://www.denverpost.com/sports/ci_12705822