Almost a month after finishing 65th in his last competitive race in Australia, and nearly six years removed from the last of an unprecedented seven consecutive Tour de France titles, the 39-year-old made clear he's leaving professional cycling behind for good.
"Never say never," Armstrong laughed at the start of an interview Tuesday with The Associated Press, then quickly added, "Just kidding."
His retirement ends a comeback effort that failed to produce an eighth title or diminish talk that performance-enhancing drugs helped his career.
"I can't say I have any regrets. It's been an excellent ride. I really thought I was going to win another tour," Armstrong said about his comeback attempt in 2009, four years after his first retirement. "Then I lined up like everybody else and wound up third.
"I have no regrets about last year, either," he added, despite finishing 23rd. "The crashes, the problems with the bike -- those were things that were beyond my control."
International Cycling Union President Pat McQuaid had high praise for Armstrong.
"His contribution to cycling has been enormous, from both the sporting point of view and his personality. All sports need global icons and he has become a global icon for cycling," said McQuaid. "The sport of cycling has a lot to be thankful for because of Lance Armstrong."
Armstrong became one of the most controversial figures in the battle against doping in sports. He vehemently denies ever using performance-enhancing drugs. Though a probe continues, lawyers say that any indictments are a long way off.
"I can't control what goes on in regards to the investigation. That's why I hire people to help me with that. I try not to let it bother me and just keep rolling right along. I know what I know," Armstrong said. "I know what I do and I know what I did. That's not going to change."