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Armstrong tribute

Don’t forget that there are loads of Tour photos in the gallery.

Most photos © Gerard Brown

Lance Armstrong
Born: 18.09.1971 in Plano, Texas
Turned Pro: 1992
Retired: 2005
Total professional victories: 93
Strengths: Aggressive and driven. Those who have ridden with him mention his insatiable attacking abilities. Also there is no other rider who prepares as meticulously. A great time trial rider who can climb with the best. He’s basically a TdF winning machine.
Weaknesses: None. OK, perhaps he was not the greatest sprinter. Didn’t speak French much, which made him unpopular in France. That’s about it. Apart from the yellow podium shoes…
Talent: As a junior his raw talent was evident. Turned pro-triathlon at 16. Won the Worlds at 21.

Early days
Lance was a rider who didn’t listen much. He was very brash and arrogant and upset the usual reserved conservative style of bike racers. At 19 he finished 11th at his first Road Worlds in Japan. Then in 1993, at the tender age of 21, he won perhaps his finest victory (in my view) the World championship road race in Oslo. He beat some of the finest riders of a generation. Experienced Pros like Bugno, Indurain, Chiappucci – these guy’s were from another time of racing, riders who could decide (without radios) what to do and when to do it. Armstrong simply out-foxed and out-gunned them. By attacking audaciously and maintaining a lead on a slippery descent to finish, he established a trademark winning style – alone.

Armstrong won the Fleche Wallone at the start of 1996 but his withdraw from the Tour de France and weak performace at the Olympics signified a problem. A few weeks after signing for French team Cofidis, on 02.10.1996 (hence the 10/2 clothing brand) he was diagnosed with testicular cancer.

If you haven’t already, read his book ‘It’s not about the bike’. The story really started here. It’s a story that has inspired millions of people and most of them aren’t bike racers, or at least they weren’t when they started it. I’ve lost count of the amount of ‘new’ cyclists who got into it because of Lance and his story. He recovered to win 7 consecutive Tours. Incredible. Not bad for a cancer survivor.

Certain things have moulded Lance’s career. His duels at the TdF with Jan Ullrich and Marco Pantani. The death of Fabio Casartelli at the Tour (and his victory the following day at Limoges – once again, in classic Armstrong style) His up and down popularity with the French media and public. His coach Chris Carmichael and his director Johan Bruneeyl. But his battle with cancer has been his greatest influence and continues to drive him forward. Whatever you think about Lance the racer you cannot ignore his contribution to our sport. He has brought more people into the sport than any other champion. His yellow wristbands are an international fashion phenomenon and he has raised a staggering amount of money for his charities and ispired countless thousands of cancer sufferers.

So how will Lance be remembered?
As 7 times Tour winner? Obviously. As a cycling ‘great’? Arguably. In cycling terms Armstrong, and Indurain before him, have changed the way riders prepare and approach the Tour and so I’m sure that there will be other 7 times winners. And as for true cycling ‘greats’, who dominate all types of races, well they are perhaps a thing of the past, however, as his win at the World Championships at the start of his career proved, Armstrong was a class act and could win any race, if he wanted to. But I have a feeling his work is still to be done, a man with such drive won’t be able to sit and watch for long. Politics may suit him even – let’s just say that this story is yet to be completed.

2005 Discovery Channel
Overall: Tour de France
Stage: St. Etienne ITT

2004 – US Postal Service – Berry Floor
Overall: Tour de France
Stage 18: Besancon ITT
Stage 17: Le Grand Bornard
Stage 16: L’Alpe d’Huez ITT
Stage 15: Villard de Lans
Stage 13: Plateau de Beille

Overall: Tour Of Georgia
Stage 3b: Tour Of Georgia – Rome ITT
Stage 3a: Tour Of Georgia – Rome

Stage 5 Tour Of Languedoc-Roussilon: Mont Saint Clair
4th Stage: Volta Algarve Portugal ITT
Stiphout Criterium
3rd Criterium International

2003 – US Postal Service
Overall: Tour de France
Stage 15 Tour de France: Luz Ardiden
Overall: Dauphine Libere
Stage 3 Dauphine Libere: Saint Heand ITT
Graz Criterium Austria

2002 – US Postal Service
Overall: Tour de France
Prologue: Luxembourg
Stage 11: La Mongie
Stage 12 Tour de France: Plateau de Beille
Stage 19 Tour de France: Macon ITT

Overall: Dauphine Libere
Stage 6 Dauphine Libere: Morzine
Overall: GP Midi Libre
Stiphout Criterium
GP Bittburger Nightime Criterium
2nd Criterium International
3rd: Championship of Zurich

2001 – US Postal Service
Overall: Tour de France
Stage 10: l’Alpe d’Huez
Stage 11: Chamrousse ITT
Stage 13: Saint Lary Soulan (Pla d’Adet)
Stage 18: St. Armand Montrond ITT
Overall: Tour Of Switzerland
Stage 8 Tour Of Switzerland: Crans-Montana Mountain TT
Prologue TT Tour Of Switzerland: Rust
2nd: Amstel Gold World Cup
2nd: Classique des Alpes

2000 – US Postal Service
Overall: Tour de France
Stage 19 Tour de France: Mulhouse ITT
GP Eddy Merckx (w.Ekimov)
GP des Nations
Stage 11 Dauphine’ Libere’: ITT
2000 Olympic Games-Sydney, Australia: Bronze medal ITT
2nd: Paris-Camembert
3rd: Classique des Alpes
3rd GC: Dauphine Libere (KOM winner)

1999 – US Postal Service
Overall: Tour de France
1st, Tour de France Prologue TT: Le Puy du Fou
1st, Stage 8, Tour de France: Metz ITT
1st, Stage 9, Tour de France: Sestriere
1st, Stage 19, Tour de France: Futuroscope ITT
1st, Stage 4, Circuit of the Sarthe ITT
1st, Stage 4, Route du Sud: Plateau de Beille
1st, Prologue TT, Dauphine Libere
1st, Draai van de Kaai Criterium Roosendal, NL
1st, Boxmeer Criterium, NL
1st, Heerlen Criterium, NL
2nd, Amstel Gold Race

1998 – US POSTAL SERVICE: 5 victories
Overall: Tour Of Luxembourg
1st, Final General Classification: Rheinland Pfalz Rundfart
1st, Final General Classification: Cascade Classic
1st, Ride For The Roses Criterium, Austin
2nd, First Union Invitational
4th, Road Race, World Championships
4th, Time Trial, World Championships
4th, Stage Tour of Spain
4th, Tour of Holland

1997 – Cofidis
No races

1996 – Motorola
1st, Fleche Wallone
1st, five stages & Final General Classification: Tour du Pont
1st, Stage 11, Fresca International Series
2nd, Liege-Bastogne-Liege
2nd, GP Eddy Merckx ITT
2nd GC, Paris-Nice
2nd GC, Tour Of Holland

1995 – Motorola
1st, Stage 18 Tour de France: Limoges
1st, Clasika San Sebastian World Cup
1st, Stage 5 Paris-Nice: St. Etienne
1st, Stage 4, 5 (ITT), 9 and Overall: Tour du Pont
1st, Stage 4 and Overall: KMart West Virginia Classic
2nd: Thrift Drug Classic

1994 – Motorola
1st, Stage 7: Beech Mountain Tour duPont
1st, Thrift Drug Classic
1st, Stage 5: Beckley KMart Classic
2nd Liege-Bastogne-Liege
2nd overall Tour duPont
2nd Clasica San Sebastian

1993 – Motorola
1st, World Professional Road Championship, Oslo, Norway
1st, Stage 8 Tour de France: Verdun (youngest postwar rider to win TDF stage at 21 years, 9 months, 23 days)
1st, Stage 3: Tour Of Sweden: Helmstad
1st, USPRO National Championships
Prologue TT, Wheeling
Stage 1, Wheeling and Overall
1st, KMart Classic, West Virginia
1st, Thrift Drug Classic (Winner, $1 million Thrift Drug Triple Crown Prize)
1st, Trofeo Laigueglia
1st, Stage 5, Tour duPont
2nd, Tour du Pont
3rd Overall, Tour Of Sweden
1st Overall, Tour Of America

1992 – Motorola
1st, Stage 4a, Vuelta Galicia, Spain
1st, GP Sanson-Marostica, Italy
2nd, Championship of Zurich
Professional 8 August 1992 (Clasika San Sebastian)
Stage 6: Settimana Bergamasca (amateur)
Stage 6 & Final General Classification: Lonsjo Classic USA (amateur)

1991 – Subaru-Montgomery
US National Amateur Champion
Settimana Bergamasca (Italy)
Gastown GP


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