World-renowned cyclist Lance Armstrong, as promised, will not ride in this year’s Tour de France — he’ll be pedaling across Iowa instead. T.J. Juskiewicz, director of the Des Moines Register’s Annual Great Bike Ride Across Iowa — known as RAGBRAI, says it’s been confirmed. “He’s not going to be riding the Tour so the next place that probably comes to anyone’s mind is to ride RAGBRAI,” Juskiewicz jokes. “We’re just excited and thrilled he’ll be joining us in Iowa this summer.”

This year is the 34th annual RAGBRAI and Juskiewicz is pretty sure it’s the biggest and the oldest cross-state bicycle tour in the nation. “Thirty-four years ago RAGBRAI started with an idea of two Des Moines Register reporters riding bikes across across the state and inviting some people to come along and nowadays 10,000 people join the ride,” Juskiewicz says. “So we’ll have 10,001 this year.” After a few years the number of riders grew to the point where the event threatened to get out of hand and participation was limited.

Like many other RAGBRAI participants, Armstrong may tote his bike to the starting point and ride along for just a day, though there’s no firm plan yet. “All those details haven’t been confirmed but we do know he’s going to make an appearance during RAGBRAI,” he says. “More details to come.” This year’s week-long ride begins at Sergeant Bluff and passes through Ida Grove, Audubon, Waukee, Newton, Marengo and Coralville on a wandering route to Muscatine.

Related web sites: