PARIS (AP) -- The world's top cycling competition is starting to look like the Tour de Lance.
Armstrong cruised to his second Tour de France championship Sunday in front of a cheering throng of Parisians and tourists, and speculation immediately turned to whether the 28-year-old Texan had it in him for a third.
"I don't see why not, but there's a lot of talent in the field who are only going to come back harder and stronger next year," he said after a day spent clowning and celebrating even before he'd crossed the Champs-Elysees finish line.
On the victory podium, Armstrong hoisted his 9-month-old boy, Luke, above his head. Tears welled in his eyes.
"This one's even more special than last year, partly because of this little guy," he said.
Because of his insurmountable lead going into the final stage, riders joked with Armstrong as they coasted past the famous sites of Paris during Sunday's 86-mile conclusion to the 23-day, 2,250-mile epic through France, Germany and Switzerland.
Shortly after the cyclists took off from the Eiffel Tower, Armstrong donned a long-haired wig. As he passed the Louvre Museum, he grabbed a pocket camera and took snapshots of the flag-waving Americans shooting pictures of him.
He even was passed a glass of local bubbly and made a toast as he pedaled, despite his earlier admission that he wasn't "a champagne kind of guy."
Armstrong won praise from his closest challengers, particularly Germany's top rider Jan Ullrich, who had questioned whether Armstrong really was the best cyclist in 1999, when Ullrich and 1998 winner Marco Pantani of Italy didn't compete.
"Armstrong is a worthy champion. He was the strongest man, and he met our every attack. He earned his victory," said Ullrich, who won the Tour in 1997 but has finished second every year since.
The festive mood was momentarily jarred when Jeroen Blijlevens of the Netherlands punched American rider Bobby Julich just after they crossed the finish line. Blijlevens, who finished 124th overall, had his place in the final results table deleted and prize money withdrawn for what the International Cycling Union called a "particularly serious attack." It wasn't specified what provoked the altercation.
Before the race, Armstrong was already looking ahead to September's Olympics in Sydney, and speculating about his prospects of winning a first gold medal in the time trial. He won all three time trials in last year's Tour as well as a time trial Friday, his first stage victory in this year's Tour.
"Winning gold is a big objective," he said in an interview aboard an Orient Express train that carried all 128 riders into Paris on Sunday.
His only scheduled appearance after the race was a benefit for cancer research, a cause he's championed since being diagnosed in 1996 with advanced testicular cancer. Given less than a 40 percent chance of survival, he underwent brain surgery and chemotherapy and had a testicle removed.
"It's still my biggest ambition, the fight against cancer," Armstrong told reporters at the ceremony, conducted in a Champs-Elysees hotel that flew a Texas flag for the occasion. "It's nice to win the Tour de France, and to win it a second time, but this is something that will be going on when I'm 50."
Armstrong resumed professional competition in 1998 but skipped that year's Tour, which nearly fell apart over revelations that top cyclists were using banned performance-enhancing drugs.
Armstrong himself was accused of doing so in 1999, but insisted he was using only a steroid-based skin cream for saddle sores. No such allegations surfaced this year, a factor Armstrong credited with making the competition less stressful even though it was physically more demanding, with four grueling mountain stages through the Alps and Pyrenees.
"I was mentally exhausted at the end of last year's Tour, partly because of all the controversy and accusations," he said. "This year's been much more positive, a real vindication in many ways, and I can carry all that positive energy into the Olympics."
Armstrong earned $315,000 for his championship, $7,200 for his stage win, and a range of bonuses for racking up points from other competitions within the Tour.
He will fly Tuesday to New York to begin a round of appearances before starting pre-Olympic training near his adopted French home of Nice next week.
Few Americans cheering on Armstrong from the sidelines knew much about cycling, but all expressed admiration for his incredible comeback from the cancer ward.
"Everybody knows somebody who's suffering from, or died from, cancer -- and everybody knows he beat a terrible case of cancer," said Kevin Fink from Denton, Maryland, standing along one Champs-Elysees spectator barrier that he'd decorated with the Stars and Stripes. "It's frankly just amazing to see him participating, never mind dominating the sport. He gives everyone a feeling of hope."
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