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Lance Armstrong confirms participation in Tour of Ireland

Tour de France legend to race before attending international cancer summit in Dublin

Cycling hero Lance Armstrong will compete in this year’s Tour of Ireland to promote the work of his cancer charity.

The 37-year-old will take part in the event for the first time in 17 years before attending the Livestrong Global Cancer Summit, in Dublin, organised by the Lance Armstrong Foundation.

The international summit, between August 24-26, is part of Armstrong’s campaign to secure international commitments on cancer control.

He told the BBC: “Unless we act on a global level, cancer will be the leading cause of death by 2010.

"Our goal is to be the catalyst that brings everyone together to fight cancer - from survivors, like me, to world leaders and policymakers who must commit completely to the effort to avoid a public health catastrophe.”

As reported in an earlier story, tour of Ireland director Darach McQuaid was delighted at the prospect of the global sports star taking part in the race.

He said then: "Having Lance Armstrong compete would bring the event to a whole new level."

More recently he told the BBC: "The Tour of Ireland could not be more proud than to have Lance Armstrong riding once again on Irish roads in the lead-up to his global cancer summit in Dublin.”

The Lance Armstrong Foundation (LAF) says the aim of the three-day summit is to bring together world leaders in “an unprecedented show of solidarity” to secure commitments to make cancer a global priority.

The LAF says it is seeking “to build a global grassroots advocacy movement to influence global action in the fight against cancer”.

Welcoming the announcement, Minister for Health, Mary Harney told the Irish Times: "Cancer Control is a top priority for the Irish Government.

“The themes of the summit fit well with our new national Cancer Control Strategy and anti-tobacco initiatives we have taken, such as the ban on smoking in the workplace.”

Meanwhile Irish Cancer Society chief executive John McCormack told the newspaper: "We still have a lot to do in the fight against cancer. By 2020, it is estimated there will be more than 40,000 new cases of cancer diagnosed in Ireland.

“We can and must act to reduce the rate of preventable cancer and this summit gives us the opportunity to increase cancer awareness and take actions which will save lives."

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