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Lance Armstrong is a professional American cyclist and testicular cancer survivor who, in 2012, was stripped of the seven Tour de France titles he won from 1999 to 2005 due to evidence of performance-enhancing drug use.
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Cyclist Lance Armstrong was born on September 18, 1971, in Plano, Texas. At age 16, Armstrong became a professional triathlete. In 1989, the U.S. Olympic development team invited him to train as cyclist. He placed 11th in the World Championship Road Race, with the best time of any American since 1976. From 1999 to 2005, Armstrong won seven consecutive Tour de France titles, inspiring others with his cancer survival. In 2012,
"I am deeply flawed ... and I'm paying the price for it, and I think that's okay. I deserve this."
[On being stripped of his seven Tour de France titles for doping as a pro cyclist.]
"Two things scare me: The first is getting hurt. But that's not nearly as scary as the second, which is losing."
"Pain is temporary. It may last a minute, or an hour, or a day, or a year, but eventually it will subside and something else will take its place. If I quit, however, it lasts forever."
the U.S Anti-Doping Agency stripped Armstrong of his seven Tour titles—as well as other honors he received from 1999 to 2005—and banned him from cycling for life, concluding that Armstrong had used banned performance-enhancing substances during those years. The cyclist vehemently denied the claims for several months thereafter, but in January 2013, admitted to doping throughout his cycling career.
Born on September 18, 1971, in Plano, Texas, Lance Armstrong was raised by his mother, Linda, in the the suburbs of Dallas, Texas. Armstrong was athletic from an early age. He began running and swimming at 10 years old, and took up competitive cycling and triathlons (which combine a 1,000 meter swim, 15-mile bike ride and three-mile run) at 13. At 16, Armstrong became a professional triathlete—he was the national sprint-course triathlon champion in 1989 and 1990.
Soon, Armstrong chose to focus on cycling, his strongest event as well as his favorite. During his senior year in high school, the U.S. Olympic development team invited him to train with them in Colorado Springs, Colorado. He left high school temporarily to do so, but later took private classes and received his high school diploma in 1989. The following summer, he qualified for the 1990 junior world team and placed 11th in the World Championship Road Race, with the best time of any American since 1976. That same year, he became the U.S. national amateur champion and beat out many professional cyclists to win two major races, the First Union Grand Prix and the Thrift Drug Classic.
In 1991, Armstrong competed in his first Tour DuPont, a long and difficult 12-stage race, covering 1,085 miles over 11 days. Though he finished in the middle of the pack, his performance announced a promising newcomer to the world of international cycling. He went on to win another stage race, the Settimana Bergamasca race, in Italy later that summer.
After finishing second in the U.S. Olympic time trials in 1992, Armstrong was favored to win the road race in Barcelona, Spain. With a surprisingly sluggish performance, however, he came in only 14th. Undeterred, Armstrong turned professional immediately after the Olympics, joining the Motorola cycling team for a respectable yearly salary. Though he came in dead last in his first professional event, the day-long San Sebastian Classic in Spain, he rebounded in two weeks and finished second in a World Cup race in Zurich, Switzerland.
Armstrong had a strong year in 1993, winning cycling's "Triple Crown"—the Thrift Drug Classic, the Kmart West Virginia Classi and the CoreStates Race (the U.S. Professional Championship). That same year, he came in second at the Tour DuPont.
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For some athletes, the risk of losing—or even being less than the best—is worse than the many consequences of doping in professional sports, and for decades, performance-enhancing drug controversies have made headlines around the world. Other athletes have garnered media attention, criminal charges and sporting suspensions for their recreational drug use. Biography.com examines some of the world's greatest athletes to ever fall from fame, whose names have been tarnished by drugs scandals, including Barry Bonds, Jose Canseco, Marion Jones, Andre Agassi, Floyd Landis and Lance Armstrong.
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