Egoi Martinez

For overall leader Armstrong, the end is near

MENDE, France - As they neared yesterday's Tour de France stage finish, George Hincapie pointed out to teammate Lance Armstrong that there were only 350 kilometers, about 217 miles, left before the ultimate finish Sunday in Paris.

To that, Armstrong replied, "Why don't we just keep going? The sooner it's done, the better."

With his record-breaking seventh straight Tour victory all but a formality, Armstrong is beginning to smell retirement, and it smells a lot like the beer and burritos it has pained him to shun since he dedicated himself to becoming one of the greatest cyclists in history.

"Honestly, I'm ready for the end, ready for this career to be over...

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