Lance Armstrong shocked the world when he won his seventh consecutive Tour De France in 2005. That was absolutely insane, seven Tour De France wins….IN A ROW!? Looking back on it now we all should have known something was up and that the golden boy of cycling was hiding a huge secret.
Lance Edward Gunderson was born on September 18, 1971 in Plano, Texas to Linda and Eddie Gunderson. He was actually named after Lance Rentzel a former Dallas Cowboys wide receiver. When Lance was just two years old his parents divorced. The following year his Mother got remarried to Terry Armstrong and he would go on to adopt Lance (hence his new last name of Armstrong). Lance didn’t start out cycling, he was a swimmer. He got interested in biking at the age of 13 after seeing a poster for a children’s Junior Triathlon which he would win.
By the time he was 16 years old, Lance Armstrong became a professional triathlete and became national sprint-course triathlon champion in 1989 and 1990 at 18 and 19, respectively. He was named the number one triathlete in the 19 and under group. In 1992 Armstrong turned pro and in 1993 he won 10 1-day races. He didn’t get his big break until the World Road Race Championship which he won. From here to about 1996 he had a bomb ass career.
On October 2, 1996 at the young age of 25 Lance Armstrong was diagnosed with stage 3 testicular cancer. The cancer spread to Armstrong’s his lymph nodes, lungs, brain, and abdomen, so things were looking pretty grim. On December 13, 1996 Armstrong had his final treatment of chemotherapy. He was finally declared cancer free in February 1997, way to go dude. By 1998 he had a contract with the US Postal Team and was in shape to start racing again. In 1997 he won his first Tour De France beating Alex Zuile by 7 minutes and 37 seconds. This was the start of a new area in the sport of cycling. In 2000 Lance won his second Tour De France this time beating Jan Ullrich by 6 minutes and 44 seconds. The man was fire, it seemed like nobody could stop him.
In 2005 Armstrong would go on to win his seventh and final Tour De France, stunning the world. Damn man, I played kick ball last week and severely strained my quad. These guys are out here biking for days on end! After this win Lance Armstrong would end up retiring to spend more time with his family and claims he did not follow the sport at all after that. On August 21, 2005 it would come out that frozen urine samples (dating back to 1999) from the cyclist were…thawed (for lack of a better word) and sent for testing. All 6 of the tested samples came back positive for erythropoietin (EPO), a performance enhancing drug. Dang they kept his pee-pee samples, I guess they were suspicious of my man Lance from the start.
Armstrong immediately defended himself by releasing this statement; rmstrong immediately replied on his website, saying, “Unfortunately, the witch hunt continues (okay, Donald Trump) and tomorrow’s article is nothing short of tabloid journalism. The paper even admits in its own article that the science in question here is faulty and that I have no way to defend myself. They state: ‘There will therefore be no counter-exam nor regulatory prosecutions, in a strict sense, since defendant’s rights cannot be respected.’ I will simply restate what I have said many times: I have never taken performance enhancing drugs.” In October that same year, in response to calls from the International Olympic Committee and the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) for an independent investigation, the UCI would end up appointing Dutch lawyer Emile Vrijman to investigate the handling of urine tests by the French national anti-doping laboratory (LNDD).
This investigation would end up clearing Armstrong of all wrong doing stating that the urine samples taken from Armstrong were handled improperly before any testing had taken place. People would later say that the investigation had a negative outcome because the rider in question was Lance Armstrong. The LNDD would fire back stating that all samples given to them are anonymous so had no way of knowing who the urine belonged to. I dunno, that seems a little fishy if you ask me. Flash forward to May 2010, fellow cyclist Floyd Landis admitted to doping and accused Armstrong and others of the same. At the same time the USADA would open their own investigation stating that blood sample taken from Armstrong in 2009 and 2010 were dirty. This would start a federal investigation that came to an end in February 2012 when the case was dropped and no criminal charges were filed.
The decision to drop the case would end up being a regrettable one because in January 2013 Lance Armstrong sat down with Oprah Winfrey for a very personal interview. It was during this interview that Armstrong would open his mouth and tell the whole world that he had infact had been using le ‘roids throughout his career. After so many years of denial why change your tune now and decide to come clean? Maybe he thought it would make people think highly of him and everything would get swept under the rug, well my dude you couldn’t have been more wrong. Armstrong lost most of his sponsors after he admitted to his wrong doing and it claimed that lost up to 75 million dollars in one day. Damn, that hurt my heart and it isn’t even my money.
Things only got worse when in a 2015 interview Armstrong told a BBC reporter that if he went back to the start of his career in 1995, he would most likely do the same thing all over again. Not a good look Lance….not a good look at all. Since than Armstrong has been stripped of all 7 of his Tour De France wins. I guess the wins got passed onto the men who came in second place? He has also been banned from all sports that follow anti-doping regulations (so all of them?) for the rest of his life. So even if he wanted to make a come back he wouldn’t be able to.
Lance Armstrong, the man who managed to stun the world not 1 but 2 times. First in a very positive light and second in a not so positive one. The man who was a hero for many has just become another has been athlete who blew it all. For those of you who are wondering because I know some of you are. You can have children with one testicle, Lance Armstrong has 5 of them.
The Rise & Fall Of Lance Armstrong – ESPN