Returning To The Returning Champions 2009: Before Michael

Returning to the returning champions

BEFORE Michael Schumacher teased the world, most sports fans thought there would be no bigger comeback this year than that of 37-year-old cyclist Lance
Armstrong returning to the Tour de France. And they were right! A seven-time winner of the event, the lanky American had not competed in the big one since 2005 and didn’t disgrace himself, either, upon return. After finishing on the podium in third place, he was suitably nonchalant about his achievement, saying: ”I can’t complain, for an old fart coming in here and getting on the podium with these young guys is not so bad.” It was an amazing return, although not everyone welcomed sharing the limelight with the veteran. Armstrong’s Astana teammate – and eventual winner of the tour – 26-year-old Alberto Contador made his feelings clear after the race when he said: ”He’s a great rider and he did a great tour. Another thing is on a personal level, where I have never admired him and never will.” That slight didn’t sit too well with Armstrong, who fired off the following message on social networking site Twitter, laying the blame for team tensions on the Spaniard, who celebrates his wins by shooting an imaginary pistol. ”Hey pistolero, there is no ‘I’ in ‘team’. What did I say in March Lots to learn.” Armstrong plans to test himself against his young rival, having joined a new team, RadioShack, which will tackle the tour in 2010. tried one more time, losing in 10 rounds to Trevor Berbick. IF YOU think some boxers have trouble staying out of the limelight, then what to make of soccer lunatic – or loveable rogue, depending on your point of view – Paul Gascoigne. As soccer’s equivalent to The Pogues frontman Shane MacGowan, Gazza has provided no end of entertainment for football fans, although as his undoubted talent fades and his personal problems come into play he’s found it harder to stay in work. Capped almost 60 times for England, Gascoigne has played at any number of top-line and no-name clubs – even heading to China to find a payday. So even though retirement and return is something of a pattern for Gazza, he’s certainly proved his worth in headlines for those willing to take him on. And never let it be said that Gascoigne doesn’t put his fame to good use. Last month he kitted up for a England v Germany charity match, to provide the media with a picture opportunity. And while this game was a one-off, there’s little doubt that there’s no keeping Gazza away from the field, let alone a bar, despite his many attempts to leave both. To show the kids how fast living ends up, check out Gazza’s recent efforts .
THE story of Tulloch’s return from near death is one of the great stories of the Australian track. Pictured here in his heyday ahead of the 1957 Victoria Derby, the three-year-old took all before him that season, winning the AJC, Victoria and Queensland derbies, the Rosehill Guineas and Caulfield Guineas, and the Caulfield Cup. Tulloch was struck down in 1958 by a scouring complaint of the stomach, sidelining him for almost two years. Trainer Tommy Smith is quoted on the Australian Racing Hall of Fame website as saying: ”He spent 22 months lying against a wall. I thought he’d die for sure.” But Tulloch was made of stern stuff, and he returned in 1960 to memorably win the Queen’s Plate at Flemington – ultimately winning 15 races after his illness.

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