Sunday, December 19, 2010

Lance Armstrong " The Challenger"


Birth: 18th September 1971, in Plano, Texas
father's Name: Eddie Charles Gunderson
Mother's Name: Linda Mooneyham

Lance Armstrong is an American professional road racing cyclist. Famous for winning the 'Tour de France' a record seven consecutive times (1999-2005) after having survived 'Testicular Cancer'. And also a founder and chairman of the 'Lance Armstrong Foundation' for cancer research and
support.
Armstrong was born on 18th september 1971 in Plano, Texas. His father Eddie Charles Gunderson, was a route manager for 'The Morning News'. And his mother linda, was a secretary. His father left his mother when Lance was two yrs old and 2 children from another relationship. Linda later married to Terry Keith Armstrong, who was a wholesale salesman. And who adopated Lance in 1974. His mother was married and divorced three times in her lifetime. Lance refuses to meet his birth father and he has described Terry Armstrong as deceitful.

When Armstrong was 12 yrs old, he began his sporting career as a swimmer. But he stopped swimming after seeing a poster for junior triathlon which he entered and won easily. In 1987-1988 he was the number one ranked triathlon. And he became a professional triathlete and also a national sprint-course triathlon champion in 1989 and 1990.

It became clear that his greatest talent was for bicycle racing. In 1992, he competed in the Tour of Ireland race. And in 1993, he won the 10 one-day events and stage races and become the youngest riders to win the UCI Road World Championship. He collected the Thrift Drug Triple crown of Cycling twice. In 1995, he won the Clasica San Sebastian and in 1996 he became the first American to win the La Fleche Wallonne.

On 2nd october 1996, when he was 25 yrs, diagnosed with stage three testicular cancer. The cancer spread to his lungs, abdomen and brain. And on first visit to a urologist for his cancer symptoms he was coughing up blood and had a large and painful testicular tumor. Immediate surgery and chemotherapy were required to save his life. Orchiectomy had done to remove his diseased testicles. After surgery his doctor stated that he had less than a 40% survival chance. The standard chemotherapeutic drug for the treatment of this type of cancer is a BEP(Bleomycin, Etoposide, and Cisplatin or platinol) however he chose an alternative VIP(Etoposide, Ifosfamide, and Cisplatin) to avoid the lung toxicity. This decision may have saved his cycling career. Also his brain tumor were surgically removed. His last chemotherapy treatment was received on 13th December 1996. His cancer went into complete remission and he was busy in serious training for racing.

In June 1997, Armstrong met Kristin Richard and married to her on 1st May 1998. They had three children, Luke and twins lsabelle and Grace. The pregnancy was possible through sperm Armstrong banked three years earlier, prior to chemotherapy and surgery. But they filed for divorce in Sept 2003. Armstrong later dating with singer-songwriter Sheryl Crow and split in Feb 2006. Again in Oct 2007 with fashion designer Tory Burch. But the relationship ended after few months. Again he dated American actress Kate Hudson but the relationship ended. In Dec 2008, he announced that his girlfriend Anna Hansen, was pregnant and she gave birth to a baby boy Maxwell on 4 June 2009. The fifth and the last child was born on Oct 2010.

He won two Tour de France stages before his cancer treatment in 1993 and 1995, took 8th and 18th stage respectively. He was droped out in 1996 race after becoming ill. Armstrong's cycling comeback in 1998 after his treatment when he took 4th rank in the Vuelta a Espana.

In 1999, he won the Tour de France including four stages. He beat the secong rider Alex Zulle by 7 min 37 sec. In 2000, he won by 6 min 2 sec over Ullrich. Armstrong again beat Ullrich by 6 min 44 sec and won Tour de France in 2001. In 2002 Ullrich didn't participate due to suspension and Armstrong won by 7 min over Joseba Beloki.

Ullrich return in 2003, but again Armstrong took first place and Ullrich second by 1 min 1 sec. In 2004 Armstrong finished first, 6 min 19 sec ahead of German Andreas Kloden. Ullrich was fourth just 2 min 31 sec back from Armstrong. In 2005, Armstrong was beaten by David Zabriskie in the stage 1 time trial by 2 sec. His Discovery Channel team won the team time trial, while Armstrong won the final individual time trial. Armstrong crossed the line to complete his remarkable record on 24th July to win 7th consecutive Tour. He won by 4 min 40 sec over Basso and Ullrich was third. On the same day , Armstrong officially announced his retirement from professional cycling.

But he was comeback. Armstrong said to his livestrong.org website that 'After talking with my childern, my father, and my closest friends, I have decided to return to professional cycling in order to raise awareness of the global cancer burden.'

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