- The Washington Times - Saturday, August 20, 2005

WACO, Texas (AP) — It’s no yellow jersey, but President Bush yesterday presented Lance Armstrong with another shirt to show off his biking experiences — a red, white and blue T-shirt emblazoned with the words “Tour de Crawford.”

The leader of the free world and the world’s biking master took a two-hour, 17-mile ride on Mr. Bush’s ranch at midmorning. The president showed Mr. Armstrong the sights on the ranch, which he calls “a little slice of heaven,” including a stop at a waterfall midway through the ride.

They were accompanied by a small group of staff and Secret Service agents and a film crew from the Discovery Channel, Mr. Armstrong’s Tour de France sponsor, which had exclusive media access for the ride. Footage was shot for a program on Mr. Armstrong to air this week.

Neither Mr. Bush nor Mr. Armstrong spoke to reporters, although White House spokesman Trent Duffy said the president was impressed by the seven-time champion’s skills.

“Recognizing what the world has known for years, the president said, ‘He’s a good rider,’” Mr. Duffy said.

Mr. Bush has taken up biking with a fervor since a bad knee forced him to give up his running routine a few years ago. It was Mr. Armstrong’s first ride at the presidential ranch, which is about 100 miles north of his adopted hometown of Austin.

Mr. Duffy wouldn’t say whether the men talked about politics, a topic that Mr. Armstrong has said he is getting more interested in, now that he’s retiring from biking at age 34. The cancer survivor calls Mr. Bush a friend, but he has spoken out against the war in Iraq and has said he wants the government to spend more money on cancer research.

At the end of the ride, Mr. Bush gave Mr. Armstrong and the rest of the riders the T-shirts, which said “Tour de Crawford” on the front in Western-style rope script and “Peloton One” — a reference to the densely packed group of riders in a race — on the back. The president also gave them red, white and blue riding socks with the presidential seal on the inner ankle.

After the presentation, Mr. Duffy said, they posed for pictures and the president invited the group to stay for lunch.

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