The rise and fall of Lance Armstrong: What it’s essential to know earlier than watching ‘LANCE’

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ESPN’s 30 for 30 “LANCE,” directed by Marina Zenovich
Half 1: Sunday, Could 24, 9 p.m. ET on ESPN.
Half 2: Sunday, Could 31, 9 p.m. ET on ESPN.
Livestreaming: ESPN App, ESPN+ and ESPN Participant (the place out there)

After beating metastatic testicular most cancers that had already unfold to different components of his physique in 1996, all eyes have been on Lance Armstrong when he returned to biking the next yr. Nevertheless it was in 1999 when he gained his first Tour de France — probably the most prestigious and troublesome race in biking — that his standing was actually elevated and he turned one of the revered athletes on the time.

Armstrong turned a family identify. He turned a trigger, a motion.

Armstrong was thrust into the worldwide highlight and helped enhance the recognition of biking globally. He gained the Tour de France seven instances in a row earlier than retiring on the age of 33. Armstrong got here again years later — although not on the identical stage of dominance — and raced in a handful of huge races earlier than retiring once more.

Regardless of all his success and glory, Armstrong’s profession was not with out controversy. From the start of his dominance within the biking world, he was continually accused of taking performance-enhancing medicine — accusations he vehemently denied. Ultimately, nonetheless, the reality caught as much as him. In 2012, Armstrong was stripped of his seven Tour de France victories following a report by the U.S. Anti-Doping Company, and in 2013, he admitted publicly that he doped throughout every of his Tour de France wins.

The Rise …

Earlier than his 1999 Tour de France win, Armstrong had been biking across the globe for years — he was a triathlete as a young person, in any case.

Even earlier than his most cancers prognosis, Armstrong was successful races. In 1993, he gained the Thrift Drug Basic in Pittsburgh, the Ok-Mart West Virginia Basic and the CoreStates USPRO nationwide championship in Philadelphia — a trio of wins identified collectively because the Thrift Drug Triple Crown of Biking.

In 1999, his first tour de France victory was propelled partly by 4 stage wins. He beat Alex Zülle, the second-place finisher, by 7 minutes and 37 seconds. Nevertheless, Jan Ullrich — with whom he would later have a longtime rivalry — didn’t take part due to harm, so Armstrong was nonetheless not fairly on the prime of the biking world. Marco Pantani, an Italian bicycle owner, was additionally not capable of take part in 1999.

Ullrich and Pantani have been again for the 2000 Tour de France — and thus started the Armstrong-Ullrich rivalry. Armstrong beat Ullrich by 6 minutes and a pair of seconds within the 2000 Tour de France, regardless of successful only one stage. Armstrong additionally went on to win bronze within the 2000 Summer time Olympics.

In 2001, Armstrong once more beat out beating Ullrich for the victory, by 6 minutes and 44 seconds. In 2002, Ullrich didn’t take part resulting from suspension, and Armstrong took prime honors over Joseba Beloki of Spain by 7 minutes.

Once more in 2003, it was the identical story: Armstrong beat Ullrich by just some minutes. In 2004, Armstrong gained his record-setting sixth Tour de France, ending 6 minutes and 19 seconds forward of German bicycle owner Andreas Klöden — Ullrich completed fourth.

Armstrong once more gained in 2005 — after which introduced he can be retiring to spend time together with his household and dedicating his efforts to his most cancers basis.

… and The Fall

In 2008, Armstrong got here out of retirement. He continued to brush off doping allegations and he advised ESPN he was ready to need to work tougher to proceed to compete at an elite stage — as he is now 37.

ESPN profiled Armstrong for his first race again in January 2009, the Tour Down Underneath in Australia. Of the 127 riders who accomplished the race, Armstrong completed a lackluster 27th.

Regardless of struggling in varied races — and nonetheless dodging allegations that he by no means competed in a Tour de France whereas clear — Armstrong determined to take part within the 2009 race. Armstrong completed third that July, however as ESPN’s Bonnie Ford famous, it was nonetheless spectacular: He was 38 and had been away from skilled biking for 3 years.

Forward of the 2010 Tour de France, Armstrong mentioned it might be his final race. Round this time, his former U.S. teammate Floyd Landis despatched emails to biking officers detailing his use of performance-enhancing medicine whereas racing for the U.S. Postal Service crew. Landis additionally accused Armstrong and different teammates of doing the identical.

“I need to clear my conscience,” Landis advised ESPN on the time. “I do not need to be a part of the issue anymore.”

Nonetheless denying allegations and claiming there was no proof, Armstrong competed within the 2010 Tour de France months after the Landis emails, coming in 23rd place.

Armstrong could not keep away from the allegations even in retirement. Extra of his former teammates began to interrupt their silence in 2011, in a preview of the proof they’ll in the end give towards him within the U.S. Anti-Doping Company’s case.

In October 2012, a USADA report towards Armstrong left little question he doped all through most of his profession. He did not contest the case, was stripped of all accomplishments from August 1998 onward and in the end obtained a lifetime ban from biking.

Lastly, Armstrong confessed publicly in an interview with Oprah Winfrey in January 2013. The interview was impassive, and it was unclear if Armstrong regretted what he did. He admitted to doping for each Tour de France he competed in and gained.

In April 2018, the lengthy authorized highway ended for each Armstrong and Landis after they reached a settlement in Landis’ federal whistleblower case, which was pursued by the U.S. Division of Justice.

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