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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