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Lance Armstrong

Prince of Asturias Award for Sports 2000

Lance Armstrong (Austin, Texas, 1971) is considered the successor of his fellow countryman, Greg LeMond. He exploded into the European cycling scene in 1993, when he won the Laiguegli Thophy (Italy), the Dupont Tour, and the eighth stage of the Tour de France. He also won the World Road Racing Championship, ahead of Miguel Indurain, who had just won the Tour de France. In 1994 he had to abandon the Tour de France through exhaustion, but the following year he won the first stage of the Paris-Nice race, the Dupont Tour once again, the eighteenth stage of the Tour de France and the Classica San Sebastian. In 1996, he won the Fleche Wallone in Belgium, and a further Dupont Tour, as well as signing for the French team, Cofidis, when the American Motorola, the team he had always ridden for, disappeared. In October of this year he was diagnosed advanced testicular cancer that had spread to his lungs and his brain.

After a number of operations, intensive cancer care treatment and chemotherapy, he was back on his bicycle two months later. He attempted to keep up with the pace of his team-mates but was unable to do so. He was back in competition for the 1998 Tour of Andalusia, where he performed reasonably well, but the effort made in the Paris-Nice Race forced him back home to Austin (Texas). Against the opinions of this friends, who advised him to retire, Lance took to the bicycle once again and won the Tour de Luxembourg that year. He began his incredible recovery, and was fourth in the Tour of Spain and the World Championships in 1998, before winning the Tour de France from 1999 to 2005.

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