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Lance Armstrong has never made a secret of being a man of extremes. During his active time as a cyclist, he achieved an unprecedented rise from being seriously ill with cancer to winning the Tour de France seven times in a row.
After his career, Armstrong became the protagonist of an unprecedented doping scandal that cost him all seven Tour de France titles and led to his public branding as a cheater.
Financially, too, Armstrong had to pay tribute to the doping scandal. Once worth an estimated 110 million euros, he can still call himself over 45 million despite all the penalties.
Lance Armstrong was born in 1971 in the Dallas suburbs. He was only two years old when his father left the family. After the separation, Lance’s mother married his future adoptive father, Terry Armstrong, who gave him a harsh, sometimes violent upbringing. Looking for a way to escape his stepfather’s bullying, Lance Armstrong discovered cycling.
In 1984, at the age of 13, Armstrong tried his hand at triathlon for the first time. In 1987 he took part in his first bicycle race. In 1988 he achieved his first respectable success when he finished third in the short-distance triathlon at the national championship. This year he was also invited to the training camp of the junior national cycling team.
In 1989 and 1990 he was then able to be celebrated as national champion on the triathlon sprint distance. 1991 followed the national championship title in the amateur road race. A year later, Armstrong managed to place fourteenth in the road race at the Olympic Games in Barcelona.
In 1992, Lance Armstrong signed his first professional contract with Team Motorola. A year later he took part in the Tour de France for the first time and immediately won his first stage. However, he had to end the tour prematurely for health reasons. But in the same year in Oslo he became the youngest professional road world champion of all time.
In 1995, Armstrong finished the Tour de France for the first time and again clinched a stage win. In this way he gained a reputation as an expert in one-day races. However, only a few believed him capable of an overall victory in the Tour de France, especially since he lost too much time on mountain stages.
The year 1996 was the first major turning point in Armstrong’s biography due to a cancer diagnosis. The disease was so advanced that for a long time it was unclear whether he would survive. In hindsight, Armstrong often said that his death throes gave him the mental tools he owed his ensuing streak of Tour de France victories.
He only managed to avoid lung damage, which would have meant the end of his career, thanks to a special, particularly painful chemotherapy.
Armstrong made his comeback in 1998 as part of the American team US Postal. Victory at the Tour of Luxembourg and fourth place at the Vuelta a Espana were quite remarkable, but the media spoke of a sensation and the “comeback of the century” when Armstrong won the Tour de France for the first time the following year .
Six more victories followed. After that, Armstrong did not celebrate any more great successes until the end of his career in 2011.
Although there was serious evidence as early as 2000 that Armstrong was doping in his Tour de France victories, the truth only came to light in 2010 with a confession from two former teammates. The revelations about the stripping of every title Armstrong had won since 1998.
Because of the doping affair and the loss of his title, it is difficult to speak of highlights in Lance Armstrong’s career. If anything, his successful fight against cancer and the subsequent comeback should be mentioned, with which he gave hope to many cancer patients. Armstrong continues the fight against cancer to this day through his commitment to those affected.
“I didn’t invent cycling’s culture of doping, but I didn’t try to end it either. Sport is now paying the price. I’m sorry for that.”
“The story was so perfect for so long. You survive this disease, win the tour seven times, have a happy marriage and children. This is a mystical, perfect story. But it wasn’t real.”
“Yes – yes – yes – yes – yes.” (Five answers to the question of whether he has ever used prohibited substances;
“No.” (Answer to the question whether, in his opinion, it is possible to win the Tour de France seven times without doping)
Armstrong has at times dated celebrity women such as actress Ashley Olsen and rock singer Sheryl Crow
In 2004, Armstrong had a brief cameo alongside Vince Vaughn and Ben Stiller in the film Busted.
Armstrong’s book “The Tour of Life” was number one on the German bestseller list