EVEN by his lofty standards, Lance Armstrong\'s return to the mountaintop in 2004 was pretty special.
The question now facing Armstrong and his legion of fans is whether he\'ll return to challenge the Pyrenees and the French Alps again in 2005.
Already recognized as one of the truly inspiring athletes of his generation, Armstrong took his cycling legacy a step further when he won a record-breaking sixth consecutive Tour de France in July.
And for his accomplishment, he was honored Monday as The Associated Press Male Athlete of the Year for the third straight year.
Armstrong joined Michael Jordan (1991-93) as the only athletes selected by American sports writers and broadcasters three straight times since the honor was first awarded in 1931.
\"For me it was a special year,\" Armstrong said. \"It\'s always nice to win the Tour, but this year was special simply because I broke the record and made history.\"
Armstrong received 51 first-place votes and 312 total points. Indianapolis Colts quarterback Peyton Manning was second with 17 first-place votes and 156 points.
The voting reflected Armstrong\'s return to dominating form in an event where he separated himself so far from the pack there was little question of the outcome. But as dominant as Armstrong was in France, he has yet to commit to going for a seventh title next year. - (supercycling)