Armstrong has been a fan favourite throughout his career, particularly after his recovery from cancer [GALLO/GETTY]

Competitive cyclist Lance Armstrong has ended his international career after completing the final stage of the Tour Down Under in the Australian city of Adelaide.

A seven-time Tour de France winner, Armstrong, now 39, had announced in 2009 that he would be ending his international cycling career in two years time, and has stuck to that pledge.

He has, however, come back from retirement before - in January 2009 he ended a three and a half year hiatus to come back to join the Radioshack racing team.

Armstrong, who won plaudits amongst fans after he recovered from testicular cancer to come back and win the Tour de France multiple times, did not produce fireworks on his retirement ride, finishing outside the top 50. He was almost six minutes behind 23-year-old Cameron Meyer, the Australian race winner.

Alleged drug use

He remains contracted to the Radioshack team, and is scheduled to take part in a number of multi-sport events in the United States.

His participation in mountain bike races or triathlons could be determined, however, by the outcome of a federal probe launched following allegations that he regularly use banned substances while racing with the US Postal team from 1999 to 2004.

Armstrong has said that he expects to be vindicated when the report from the probe is released. The probe was ordered after Sports Illustrated published a story that examined allegations that he had used banned performance enhancing substances.

In October, Armstrong had confirmed that the Tour Down Under would be his final competitive ride outside of the United States.

"It will be my third time to the event and I'm sure I will enjoy it as much as I have the first two times," he said.

Source: Agencies