Discovery Channel Pro Cycling Team's Lance Armstrong has not won every Tour de France since 1999 simply because he puts in extra miles of training, watches what he eats or even because he's dodged major injuries over his long career. People have gone to great lengths to explain away Lance Armstrong's greatness as an athlete. Some look for explanations in his physiology. Some say his will is just stronger than most. Others say he's ruthlessly demanded no less than excellence from his teammates. The truth lies somewhere in a combination of these factors, and few aspects of his story are less than fascinating. He leaves his career at the top of his game, with an unprecedented six Tour de France wins under his bike. But what's truly amazing is he's done this after being issued a near death sentence. In 1998 he was diagnosed with stage 3 testicular cancer that had metastasized in his lungs and brain. True to form, he battled the disease like a champion, and like most other mountains that have slowed Lance's forward motion, he eventually conquered it. But this is by no means a mountain he's left behind. Cancer was something that galvanized his resolve, both on and off the bike and contributed to his evolution as an athlete and as a man. After beating cancer, he began to take a serious look at training and became committed to improving his physiology. He also dedicated himself to chasing down even the slightest improvements in technology, living by the philosophy of "every second counts." From the communication system used by the team, the Nike clothing he wears, to the Trek bicycles he rides, no detail that would improve his chances on the bike is left untested. Lance has also embraced science in what may be the most important way possible. He's dedicated himself to conquering the disease that nearly destroyed him by raising research dollars through the Lance Armstrong Foundation. His athleticism and fighting spirit have become an inspiration to not only people battling cancer, but to anyone who appreciates a shining example of the indomitability of the human spirit. And as he rides into history to try and achieve his 7th Tour de France win, the world cheers him on. Because Lance Armstrong crosses the starting line a winner.
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