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Topic 53 of 64: Lance Armstrong and bicycling as a sport

Sun, Jul 16, 2000 (08:28) | spring training (sprin5)
Lance Armstrong won the Tour de France last year and is wearing yellow again this year. Last time I saw Lance was at Bookstop a few months ago, he held the door open for me as I was leaving.
34 responses total.

 Topic 53 of 64 [austin]: Lance Armstrong and bicycling as a sport
 Response 1 of 34: spring training (sprin5) * Tue, Oct 17, 2000 (07:42) * 1 lines 
I see Lance is the poster boy for light rail in Austin now. It's not a popular cause. It will be interesting to see what the voters say? Anyone here have light rail in their cities?

 Topic 53 of 64 [austin]: Lance Armstrong and bicycling as a sport
 Response 2 of 34: NittanyLion   (MarciaH) * Tue, Oct 17, 2000 (19:08) * 1 lines 
No, but it is being considered for Honolulu... That finite island is a nightmare of monumental traffic proportions.

 Topic 53 of 64 [austin]: Lance Armstrong and bicycling as a sport
 Response 3 of 34: gena    (zx6rider) * Fri, Nov 17, 2000 (11:48) * 3 lines 
Is 'light rail' commuter and subway trains?

If so... Boston MBTA Commuter (AMTRAK) allows bikes to roll on during no-peak times. I hear some of the subway lines allow it (though the GREEN line is not one of them). In NYC you can tak your bike on the subway anytime you can get it to fit.

 Topic 53 of 64 [austin]: Lance Armstrong and bicycling as a sport
 Response 4 of 34: Paul Terry Walhus (terry) * Sun, Apr 29, 2001 (23:40) * 1 lines 
In Austin they have racks for bikes on the fronts of buses.

 Topic 53 of 64 [austin]: Lance Armstrong and bicycling as a sport
 Response 5 of 34: Paul Terry Walhus (terry) * Thu, Jul 11, 2002 (09:43) * 41 lines 
From an amazing New Yorker piece.

July 11, 2002 | home

How did Lance Armstrong manage the greatest comeback in sports history?
Issue of 2002-07-15
Posted 2002-07-08
A couple of weeks ago, on a sweltering Saturday afternoon, I found myself in the passenger seat of a small Volkswagen, careering so rapidly around the hairpin turns of the French Alps that I could smell the tires burning. Johan Bruyneel, the suave, unflappable director of the United States Postal Service Pro Cycling Team, was behind the wheel. Driving at ninety kilometres an hour occupied half his attention. The rest was devoted to fiddling with a small television mounted in the dashboard, examining a set of complicated topographical maps, and talking into one of two radio transmitters in the car. The first connected Bruyneel to the team's support vehicle, laden with extra bicycles, water bottles, power bars, and other tools and equipment. The second fed into the earpieces of the eight U.S. Postal Service cyclists who were racing along the switchbacks ahead of us. The entire team could hear every word that Bruyneel said, but most of the time he was talking to just one man: Lance Armstrong.

We had been on the road for about three hours and Armstrong was a kilometre in front of us, pedalling so fast that it was hard to keep up. It was the sixth day of the Dauphiné Libéré, a weeklong race that is run in daily stages. Armstrong doesn't enter races like the Dauphiné to win (though often enough he does); he enters to test his legs in preparation for a greater goal—the Tour de France. Since 1998, when he returned to cycling after almost losing his life to testicular cancer, Armstrong has focussed exclusively on dominating the thirty-five-hundred-kilometre, nearly month-long Tour, which, in the world of cycling, matters more than all other races combined. This week, he begins a quest to become the fourth person in the hundred-year-history of the Tour—the world's most gruelling test of human endurance—to win four times in a row. (In 1995, the Spanish cyclist Miguel Indurain became the first to win five consecutively—a record that is clearly on Armstrong's mind.)

The cyclists had covered a hundred and eight kilometres, much of it over mountain passes still capped with snow, despite temperatures edging into the nineties. Now the peloton—the term is French for "platoon," and it describes the pack of riders who make up the main group in every race—was about to start one of the most agonizing climbs in Europe, the pass between Mont Blanc and Lake Geneva, which is known as the Col de Joux Plane. In cycling, climbs are rated according to how long and steep they are: the easiest is category four, the hardest category one. The seventeen-hundred-metre Joux Plane has a special rating, known as hors categorie, or beyond category; for nearly twelve kilometres, it rises so sharply that it seems a man could get to the top only by helicopter.

"We start the Joux Plane with a lot of respect for this mountain," Bruyneel said quietly into his radio. "It is long, it is hard. Take it easy. If people are breaking away, let them go. Do you hear me, Lance?"

"Yes, Johan," Armstrong replied flatly. "I remember the mountain."

With only a few days remaining in the 2000 Tour de France, Armstrong had what most observers agreed was an insurmountable lead when he headed toward this pass. He was riding with his two main rivals of that year: Marco Pantani, the best-known Italian cyclist, and Jan Ullrich, the twenty-eight-year-old German who won the Tour in 1997, and who in the world of cycling plays the role of Joe Frazier to Armstrong's Ali. As they started to climb, Armstrong seemed invincible. Halfway up, though, he slumped over his handlebars, looking as if he had suffered a stroke, and Ullrich blew right by him.

"I bonked," Armstrong said later, using a cyclist's term for running out of fuel. A professional cyclist consumes so much energy—up to ten thousand calories during a two-hundred-kilometre mountain stage—that, unless some of it is replaced, his body will run through all the glycogen (the principal short-term supply of carbohydrates the body uses for power) stored in his muscles. Armstrong hadn't eaten properly that morning; then he found himself cut off from his domestiques—the teammates who, among other things, are responsible for bringing him supplies of food and water during the race. "That was the hardest day of my life on a bike," Armstrong said later. He was lucky to finish the day's stage, and even luckier to hold on and win the race.

"This isn't just a stage in a race for Lance," Bruyneel said now, as Armstrong approached the bottom of the slope. "He needs to defeat this mountain to feel ready for the Tour." This time, Bruyneel made sure that the domestiques ferried water, carbohydrate drinks, and extra power bars to Armstrong throughout the day. They periodically drifted back to our car and performed a kind of high-speed docking maneuver so that Bruyneel could thrust water bottles, five or six at a time, into their outstretched arms.

Last year, Armstrong won the Tour, for the third time in a row, by covering 3,462 kilometres at an average speed of more than forty kilometres an hour—the third-fastest time in the history of the event. In all, during those three weeks in July, Armstrong spent eighty-six hours, seventeen minutes, and twenty-eight seconds on the bike. "Lance almost killed himself training for the last Tour," Bruyneel told me. "This year, he is in even better shape. But the press still wants to talk about drugs."

It is, of course, hard to write about cycling and not discuss performance-enhancing drugs, because at times so many of the leading competitors seem to have used them. Strict testing measures have been in force since 1998, when the Tour was nearly cancelled after an assistant for the Festina team was caught with hundreds of vials of erythropoietin, or EPO, a hormone that can increase the oxygen supply to the blood. But the changes have brought only limited success: just this May, Stefano Garzelli and Gilberto Simoni, two of Europe's leading cyclists, were forced to withdraw from the Giro d'Italia, Italy's most important race.

Because Armstrong is the best cyclist in the world, there is an assumption among some of those who follow the sport that he, too, must use drugs. Armstrong has never failed a drug test, however, and he may well be the most frequently examined athlete in the history of sports. Whenever he wins a day's stage, or finishes as one of the top cyclists in a longer race, he is required to provide a urine sample. Like other professionals, Armstrong is also tested randomly throughout the year. (The World Anti-Doping Agency, which regularly tests athletes, has even appeared at his home, in Austin, Texas, at dawn, to demand a urine sample.) Nobody questions Armstrong's excellence. And yet doubts remain: is he really so gifted that, like Secretariat, he easily dominates even his most talented competitors?

"It's terribly unfair," Bruyneel told me as we drove through the mountains. "He is already winning, and is extremely fit. Still, people always ask that one question: How can he do this without drugs? I understand why people ask, because our sport has been tainted. But Lance has a different trick, and I have watched him do it now for four years: he just works harder than anyone else alive."

 Topic 53 of 64 [austin]: Lance Armstrong and bicycling as a sport
 Response 6 of 34: Paul Terry Walhus (terry) * Thu, Jul 11, 2002 (09:45) * 1191 lines 
Lance Armstrong's heart is almost a third larger than that of an average

man. During those rare moments when he is at rest, it beats about

thirty-two times a minute—slowly enough so that a doctor who knew nothing

about him would call a hospital as soon as he heard it. (When Armstrong is

exerting himself, his heart rate can edge up above two hundred beats a

minute.) Physically, he was a prodigy. Born in 1971, Armstrong was raised

by his mother in Plano, a drab suburb of Dallas that he quickly came to

despise. He never knew his father, and refers to him as "the DNA donor."

He has written that "the main thing you need to know about my childhood is

that I never had a real father, but I never sat around wishing for one,

either. . . . I've never had a single conversation with my mother about


He was a willful child and didn't like to listen to advice. "I have loved

him every minute of his life, but, God, there were times when it was a

struggle," his mother, Linda, told me. She is a demure woman with the kind

of big blond hair once favored by wives of astronauts. "He has always

wanted to test the boundaries," she said. Armstrong admits that he was

never an easy child. In his autobiography, "It's Not About the Bike,"

which was written with the journalist Sally Jenkins, he said, "When I was

a boy I invented a game called fireball, which entailed soaking a tennis

ball in kerosene, lighting it on fire, and playing catch with it."

Armstrong was an outstanding young swimmer, and as an adolescent he began

to enter triathlons. By 1987, when he was sixteen, he was also winning

bicycle races. That year, he was invited to the Cooper Institute, in

Dallas, which was one of the first centers to recognize the relationship

between fitness and aerobic conditioning. Everyone uses oxygen to break

down food into the components that provide energy; the more oxygen you are

able to use, the more energy you will produce, and the faster you can run,

ride, or swim. Armstrong was given a test called the VO2 Max, which is

commonly used to assess an athlete's aerobic ability: it measures the

maximum amount of oxygen the lungs can consume during exercise. His levels

were the highest ever recorded at the clinic. (Currently, they are about

eighty-five millilitres per kilogram of body weight; a healthy man might

have a VO2 Max of forty.)

Chris Carmichael, who became his coach when Armstrong was still a

teen-ager, told me that even then Armstrong was among the most remarkable

athletes he had ever seen. Not only has his cardiovascular strength always

been exceptional; his body seems specially constructed for cycling. His

thigh bones are unusually long, for example, which permits him to apply

just the right amount of torque to the pedals.

Although Armstrong was talented, he wasn't very disciplined. He acted as

if he had nothing to learn. "I had never met him when I took over as his

coach," Carmichael told me. "I called him up and we talked on the phone.

He was kind of rude. Not kind of rude. He was completely rude. He was,

like, 'So you are the new coach—what are you going to teach me?' He just

thought he was King Shit. I would tell him to wait till the end of a race

before making a break. He just couldn't do that. He would get out in front

and set the pace. He would burn up the field, and when other riders came

alive he would be done, spent." Still, Armstrong did well in one-day

races, in which bursts of energy count as much as patience or tactical

precision. In 1991, after several years of increasingly impressive

performances, he became the U.S. amateur champion, and the next year he

turned pro. In 1993, he became the youngest man ever to win a stage in the

Tour de France; he won the World Road Championships the same year.

In 1996, Armstrong signed a contract with the French cycling team Cofidis,

for a salary of more than two million dollars over two years. He had a

beautiful new home in Austin, and a Porsche that he liked to drive fast.

Then, in September, he became unusually weak and felt soreness in one of

his testicles. Since soreness is a part of any cyclist's life, he didn't

give it much thought. One night later that month, however, several days

after his twenty-fifth birthday, he felt something metallic in his throat

while he was talking on the phone. He put his friend on hold, and ran into

the bathroom. "I coughed into the sink," he later wrote. "It splattered

with blood. I coughed again, and spit up another stream of red. I couldn't

believe the mass of blood and clotted matter had come from my own body."

Within a week, Armstrong had surgery to remove the cancerous testicle. By

then, the disease had spread to his lungs, abdomen, and brain. He needed

brain surgery and the most aggressive type of chemotherapy. "At that

point, he had a minority chance of living another year," Craig Nichols,

who was Armstrong's principal oncologist, told me. "We cure at most a

third of the people in situations like that." A professor at Oregon Health

Sciences University who specializes in testicular cancer, Nichols has

remained a friend and is an adviser to the Lance Armstrong Foundation,

which supports cancer research. Nichols described Armstrong as the "most

willful person I have ever met." And, he said, "he wasn't willing to die."

Armstrong underwent four rounds of chemotherapy so powerful that the

chemicals destroyed his musculature and caused permanent kidney damage; in

the final treatments, the chemicals left burns on his skin from the inside

out. Cofidis, convinced that Armstrong's career (and perhaps his life) was

over, told his agent while he was still in the hospital that it wanted to

reconsider the terms of his contract. That may have turned out to be the

worst bet in the history of sports.

Armstrong did recover, but his first attempts to return to competition

ended in exhaustion and depression. "In an odd way, having cancer was

easier than recovery—at least in chemo I was doing something, instead of

just waiting for it to come back," he wrote. In 1998, he decided to make a

more serious effort to return to racing. Again, he couldn't stick with it.

"The comeback was still amazingly risky," Carmichael told me. "There

wasn't a doctor on this earth who could say that Lance Armstrong's lungs

weren't fucked up, the cancer wasn't going to come back. Nobody said, 'You

will be successful and, by the way, you will win the Tour.' He was afraid,

so he just quit. I was shocked. He beats cancer. Goes to hell and back.

Goes to Europe. Trains his ass off. Trained harder than ever. In the Ruta

del Sol"—a five-day race held each year in Spain—"he was fourteenth. He

had never done better, even before cancer, and all indications were that

he was on the verge of the greatest comeback in sports, and he said, 'Hey,

I'm quitting.' My coaching side just wanted to scream."

Carmichael and Bill Stapleton, Armstrong's close friend and agent, helped

persuade him that this wasn't the way to end his career. "We said, 'You

will look back on this and be disappointed—you are going out as a

quitter,' " Carmichael told me. Armstrong agreed to prepare for one last

race, in the United States. He, Carmichael, and a friend went to Boone, a

small town in North Carolina where Armstrong liked to train. "Early

April," Carmichael recalled. "The first day was nice. Then the weather

turned ugly. I would follow behind in the car as they trained. One day, we

were to finish at the top of Beech Mountain. It was a long ride, a

hundred-plus miles, then the ride to the top. Something happened on that

mountain. He just dropped his partner and he went for it. He was racing.

It was weird. I was following behind him in the car. This cold rain was

now a wet snow. And I rolled down the window and I was honking the horn

and yelling, 'Go, Lance, go!' He was attacking and cranking away as though

we were in the Tour. Nobody was around. No human being. Not even a cow. He

got up to the top of that mountain and I said, 'O.K., I'll load the bike

on the car and we can go home.' He said, 'Give me my rain jacket—I'm

riding back.' Another thirty miles. That was all he said. It was like

throwing on a light switch."

Armstrong now says that cancer was the best thing that ever happened to

him. Before becoming ill, he didn't care about strategy or tactics or

teamwork—and nobody (no matter what his abilities) becomes a great cyclist

without mastering those aspects of the sport. Despite Armstrong's

brilliant early start in the 1993 Tour, for example, he didn't even finish

the race; he dropped out when the teams entered the most difficult

mountain phase, in the Alps. (He also failed to finish in 1994 and 1996.)

As Carmichael pointed out to me, Armstrong had always been gifted, but

"genetically he is not alone. He is near the top but not at the top. I

have seen people better than Lance that never go anywhere. Before Lance

had cancer, we argued all the time. He never trained right. He just relied

on his gift. He would do what you asked for two weeks, then flake off and

do his own thing for a month or two. And then a big race would be coming

up and he would call me up, all tense, telling me, 'God, I have got to

start training, and you guys better start sending me some programs.' I

would say, 'Lance, you don't just start preparing things four weeks before

a race. This is a long process.' "

Cycling is, above all, a team sport, and the tactics involved are as

complicated as those of baseball or basketball. "Ever try to explain the

infield-fly rule to somebody?" Armstrong asked me when we were in Texas,

where he lives when he is not racing or training in Europe. "You have to

watch it to get it. As soon as you pay some attention to the tactics,

cycling makes a lot of sense."

Riding through the French mountains with Bruyneel, a genial

thirty-seven-year-old who has been with U.S. Postal since 1999, soon after

Armstrong joined the team, I saw what he meant. (Armstrong's athletic

advisers complement each other: Carmichael is the physical strategist, and

Bruyneel the tactician.) "It looks like Victor is good today, so let's

save him a bit longer for the Colombiere," Bruyneel radioed to Armstrong

about halfway through the day's ride. "Sounds like a good idea," Armstrong

replied. In other words, Victor Hugo Peña, a promising young Colombian

climber on the team, seemed strong enough to lead Armstrong over one of

the big peaks that the racers would encounter before the Col de Joux

Plane. Riders like Hugo Peña "work" for Armstrong; they are not attempting

to win the race themselves but, rather, focussing on preventing another

team from defeating Armstrong. Their job is to patrol the peloton. If a

competing star tries to escape from the pack in a breakaway, they must be

ready to chase him down, in order to tire him out and make him less of a

threat later in the race.

Until it is time to sprint, climb, or attempt a breakaway, there is

usually at least one team rider positioned in front of his leader. Riding

directly behind another man—which is called drafting—can save a skilled

cyclist as much as forty per cent of his energy. Asker Jeukendrup, a

physiologist who directs the Human Performance Laboratory at the

University of Birmingham, has carried out extensive studies of the energy

expended by cyclists when they race. Several years ago, Jeukendrup

attached power meters to the bicycles of several Tour participants during

critical stages. A power meter records a rider's heart rate, his pedal

cadence, his speed, and, most important, the watts that he generates with

every turn of the wheels. (Watts provide the most accurate measurement of

the intensity of exercise; heart rates vary and so does speed. The amount

of work needed to climb a hill remains the same no matter how fast you


Jeukendrup recorded the effort expended by a cyclist riding for six hours

at forty kilometres an hour in the middle of the peloton, shielded from

the wind. He compared this figure with the power needed to propel that

same man riding alone. In the pack, the cyclist used an average of

ninety-eight watts—which would never tire a well-trained professional. On

his own, however, the cyclist expended an average of two hundred and

seventy-five watts—nearly three times the power—to maintain the same

speed. It is easy to see what this means: in any race, the guy out front

is often suffering in his attempt to lead the peloton, while somebody like

Armstrong, safely tucked into a cocoon of teammates, can cruise just a few

yards behind the leader and be "pulled" at essentially the same speed,

conserving energy for later.

The peloton can cover up to two hundred and fifty kilometres a day without

stopping, like a rolling army; there is a "feed zone" about halfway

through each stage, where cyclists slow down enough to be draped with a

cloth pouch, called a musette, which is filled with fruit, power bars, and

other high-carbohydrate snacks. The team members take turns "working," or

pulling, at the front to give each other a rest. (Even competitors, when

they ride together, take turns out front, sharing the advantages of

drafting.) In some ways, cycling retains an odd chivalry that is more

readily associated with the trenches of the First World War. During last

year's Tour, for instance, at a crucial moment in the Pyrenees, Jan

Ullrich veered off the road and into a ditch; Armstrong waited for him to

get back on his bike and catch up. Ullrich almost certainly would have

done the same for him. When a leader needs to urinate, the whole pack

slows down. It is an unspoken but very clear element of the etiquette of

professional cycling that nobody is permitted to benefit by breaking away

while an opponent urinates (or, worse yet, when part of the peloton is

caught at a train crossing). Anyone who did would be unlikely to finish

the race. After all, it takes little to knock a man off a bicycle,

particularly at high speeds; this is called flicking, from the German

ficken—which means "to fuck."

Apart from the Olympics and World Cup soccer, the Tour is the most popular

sporting event in Europe. In France, July is a carnival, complete with

thousands of cars, buses, motorcycles, and helicopters following the Tour,

and daily television coverage. This year, at least fifteen million

people—a quarter of the country's population—are expected to line the

highways to watch the cyclists whiz by in a blurred instant. Every

morning, kids mass outside the team buses, begging for autographs. If a

spectator is lucky, someone in the peloton will toss a used water bottle

his way; it is the cycling world's version of a foul ball.

The Tour de France is exactly what its name suggests: a tour of France.

The race takes place over the course of three weeks, with a day or two of

rest, and the course is altered slightly each year, so that it passes

through different villages. Each day, there is a new stage; when all the

stages have been completed, the man with the fastest cumulative time wins.

(This year's Tour will be the shortest in its history; some people believe

this is an attempt to reduce Armstrong's advantage.) As a commercial and

logistical endeavor, the Tour could be compared to a Presidential campaign

or the Super Bowl. Its budget is in the tens of millions of dollars, and

the winner receives close to four hundred thousand dollars. The money

comes from location fees, paid by towns that host a stage, and from

advertising revenues and broadcast licenses. The Tour is treated as if it

were its own sovereign state within France: it has a police force and a

travelling bank (the only one in the country open on Bastille Day). The

entourage includes riders, mechanics, masseurs, managers, doctors, cooks,

journalists, and race officials. Each team starts the race with nine

riders (though it is common for as many as half to drop out), who usually

work to further the goals of their leader, like Armstrong or Ullrich—who

injured his knee earlier this year and will not compete.

Since individual excellence can get one only so far in a race of this

magnitude, it is also crucial to have the right team, to provide

organization, finances, and experience. U.S. Postal has all that; it is,

in its way, pro cycling's Yankees—with climbing specialists, sprinters,

and a powerful bench. This is why so many cyclists agree to work as

domestiques, putting their success second to Armstrong's. "You work for a

teammate who is older and more experienced," Victor Hugo Peña told me late

one day between stages of the Dauphiné.

I was curious why a talented cyclist would agree to play such a role. "It

is an apprenticeship—you have to learn the business," Hugo Peña said. "If

you get respect, work well, and are good, you move up." Armstrong himself

worked as a domestique when he was starting out. He told me that he finds

the system reassuring. Bruyneel, who was a successful professional, and

won two stages in the Tour, agreed. "What does a man gain from riding for

himself and coming in fiftieth?" he said. "If you see your job as helping

your team win, you will get more out of that than simply riding and

losing. It's fun to be part of a winning team." And it is also profitable;

even a journeyman cyclist can make a hundred thousand dollars a year.

(This is nothing like what the winners make, of course; between his salary

and the endorsements, Armstrong earned about fifteen million dollars last

year.) Still, there comes a point when a talented cyclist no longer wants

to occupy a supporting role and tries to establish himself as a potential

leader. For several years, Armstrong's deputy on the U.S. Postal team was

his friend Tyler Hamilton. This year, with Armstrong's encouragement,

Hamilton began riding for a Danish competitor, CSC Tiscali, and, as one of

its leaders, he placed second in the Giro d'Italia.

The physical demands on competitive cyclists are immense. One day, they

will have to ride two hundred kilometres through the mountains; the next

day there might be a long, flat sprint lasting seven hours. Because

cyclists have such a low percentage of body fat, they are more susceptible

to infections than other people. (At the beginning of the Tour,

Armstrong's body fat is around four or five per cent; this season,

Shaquille O'Neal, the most powerful player in the N.B.A., boasted that his

body-fat level was sixteen per cent.)

The Tour de France has been described as the equivalent of running twenty

marathons in twenty days. During the nineteen-eighties and nineties, Wim

H. M. Saris, a professor of nutrition at the University of Maastricht,

conducted a study of human endurance by following participants in the

Tour. "It is without any doubt the most demanding athletic event," he told

me. "For one day, two days—sure, you may find something that expends more

energy. But for three weeks? Never."

Looking at a wide range of physical activities, Saris and his colleagues

measured the metabolic demands made on people engaged in each of them. "On

average, the cyclists expend sixty-five hundred calories a day for three

weeks, with peak days of ten thousand calories," he said. "If you are

sedentary, you are burning perhaps twenty-five hundred calories a day.

Active people might burn as many as thirty-five hundred."

Saris compared the metabolic rates of professional cyclists while they

were riding with those of a variety of animal species, and he created a

kind of energy index—dividing daily expenditure of energy by resting

metabolic rate. This figure turned out to range from one to seven. An

active male rates about two on Saris's index and an average professional

cyclist four and a half. Almost no species can survive with a number that

is greater than five. For example, the effort made by birds foraging for

food sometimes kills them, and they scored a little more than five. In

fact, only four species are known to have higher rates on Saris's energy

index than the professional cyclists in his study: a small Australian

possum, a macaroni penguin, a large seabird called a gannet, and one

species of marsupial mouse.

This spring, Armstrong, who doesn't relax much to begin with, was spending

up to thirty-five hours a week on his bicycle. When I met him, in April,

he had just flown to Austin from Europe, where he had been racing, for a

forty-eight-hour "drop-in," in order to raise money for the Lance

Armstrong Foundation. This required him to take the Concorde from Paris to

New York, change planes, and, once he'd landed in Austin, drive to an

afternoon photo shoot. Then he signed books, cycling jerseys, and posters

for cancer survivors and sponsors of the foundation. After that, he went

to a fund-raising dinner. A few hours later, the foundation's annual

charity weekend, the Ride for the Roses, would officially begin, with an

outdoor rock concert at the Austin Auditorium Shores arena. But Armstrong

was feeling restless; he hadn't been on his bicycle for nearly a day. So

he changed, and went for a thirty-five-mile spin. At eight-thirty that

evening, he was standing backstage at the benefit concert, which featured

Cake and the Stone Temple Pilots. I met up with him there; Armstrong, who

is surprisingly slight, wore jeans, sandals, and a Nike golf cap. He

didn't seem a bit tired.

Every ounce of fat, bone, and muscle on Armstrong's body is regularly

inventoried, analyzed, and accounted for. I asked him if he felt it was

necessary to endure the daily prodding and poking required to provide all

this information, and to adhere so rigidly to his training schedules.

"Depends whether you want to win," he replied. "I do. The Tour is a

two-thousand-mile race, and people sometimes win by one minute. Or less.

One minute in nearly a month of suffering isn't that much. So the people

who win are the ones willing to suffer the most." Suffering is to cyclists

what poll data are to politicians; they rely on it to tell them how well

they are doing their job. Like many of his competitors in the peloton,

Armstrong seems to love pain, and even to crave it.

"Cycling is so hard, the suffering is so intense, that it's absolutely

cleansing," he wrote in his autobiography. "The pain is so deep and strong

that a curtain descends over your brain. . . . Once, someone asked me what

pleasure I took in riding for so long. 'Pleasure?' I said. 'I don't

understand the question.' I didn't do it for pleasure. I did it for pain."

Armstrong mentioned suffering (favorably) in each of my conversations with

him. Even his weekend in Texas, which was ostensibly time off from the

grinding spring training schedule, seemed designed to drive him to the

brink of exhaustion; there were dozens of meetings with donors, cancer

survivors, and friends. On Sunday, he led the foundation's annual ride

with his friend Robin Williams, a surprisingly fit and aggressive cyclist.

Williams and Armstrong rode at a fairly rapid pace for about two hours, at

which point a car suddenly pulled up alongside them on the highway.

Armstrong hopped off his bike, climbed in, and was driven to the airport

to catch a plane for New York and then Paris. During his forty-eight-hour

drop-in, the Lance Armstrong Foundation raised nearly three million


In Austin, Lance (other than Dubya, he is the only one-name Texan) has a

more devoted following than Bush, Lyle Lovett, and the Texas Longhorns

football team combined. One night during my weekend in Austin, I drove

over to Chuy's, an informal Tex-Mex place that is one of Armstrong's

favorite local restaurants. (It was famous locally even before a

hardworking bartender carded President Bush's nineteen-year-old daughter

Jenna.) Armstrong has a weakness for Chuy's burritos. I asked my waiter

what he thought of Armstrong. "When he walks in here, you can feel the

buzz coming right off him," he said. "When Lance shows up, people are

delirious. They love the guy. His life is like an Alamo-level myth, and

everybody loves a myth, particularly in Texas."

Armstrong tries to resist being described as a hero of any kind. "I want

my kids to grow up and be normal," he told me, backstage at the concert,

as he tentatively ate exactly two Dorito chips. He and his wife, Kristin,

have three children: a son, Luke, who is two, and twin girls, Isabelle and

Grace, born last year. "I want them to think their father worked hard for

what he got, not that it was the result of some kind of magic," Armstrong


Three types of riders succeed in long stage races like the Tour de France:

those who excel at climbing but are only adequate in time trials, in which

a cyclist races alone against the clock; those who can win time trials but

struggle in the mountains; and cyclists who are moderately good at both.

Now there appears to be a fourth group: Armstrong. He has become the best

climber in the world, although he wasn't much of one in his early years.

And there is no cyclist better at time trials. He lost nearly twenty

pounds when he was sick, but he is no less powerful and is therefore

faster. Still, many people have wondered how, so soon after a nearly fatal

illness, he managed to take such complete control of the sport.

"After the cancer, Lance got a second chance," Carmichael explained to me.

"It was that simple. You get a second chance at something that you took

for granted before and all of a sudden you see everything you could have

lost. When he came back, he just went into a different zone. He works as

if he is possessed. It's a little bit nutty, in fact, what he puts himself

through so that he can win the Tour de France each year." As a young man,

Carmichael was an Olympic cyclist himself, but he almost died in a

freakish skiing accident, in 1986. He returned to competition, but

something was gone. While he was trying to figure out what to do next, he

took a job coaching the United States national team. He has now been

training people for fifteen years. He works with many élite athletes in

addition to Armstrong—runners, hockey players, even one Indy driver—and

also with thousands who just want to ride faster every Sunday with their

local club. He has a company, Carmichael Training Systems, based in

Colorado Springs, that employs more than seventy-five coaches; his

clients, including Armstrong, log on to the company Web site to find their

latest training instructions.

Carmichael believes that rigorous training is what ultimately turns a

talented athlete into a star. "Who hits more practice balls every day than

any other golfer?" Carmichael asked. "Guess what? It's Tiger Woods. Well,

Lance trains more than his competitors. He was the first to go out and

actually ride the important Tour stages in advance. He doesn't just wake

up in July and say, 'God, I hope I am ready for this race.' He knows he is

ready, because he has whipped himself all year long."

Armstrong describes his bike as his office. "It's my job," he told me. "I

love it, and I wouldn't ride if I didn't. But it's incredibly hard work,

full of sacrifices. And you have to be able to go out there every single

day." In the morning, he rises, eats, and gets on his bike; sometimes,

before a particularly long day, he waits to eat again (in order to store

up carbohydrates) before taking off. "We schedule his daily workouts to

leave late in the morning, so that he can ride for six hours," Carmichael

said. "He returns home about five or six o'clock, in time for a quick

dinner—a protein-carb smoothie, a little pasta. Then it is time for bed."

During the cycling season, Armstrong calculates each watt he has burned on

his bike and then uses a digital scale to weigh every morsel of food that

passes his lips. This way, he knows exactly how many calories he needs to

get through the day. When he is racing, his meals are gargantuan. (It took

three men to lug the team's rations—boxes full of cereal, bread, yogurt,

eggs, fruit, honey, chocolate spread, jam, peanut butter, and other

snacks—into the hotel breakfast room during the Dauphiné.) On days when a

race begins at noon or later, Armstrong will eat two heaping plates of

pasta and perhaps a power bar three hours before the race, after having

had a full breakfast.

When I visited Carmichael in Colorado Springs, he showed me Armstrong's

training schedule for a few weeks this spring. On April 28th, a Sunday,

Armstrong competed in the Amstel Gold, a one-day annual World Cup race in

Holland. He finished fourth, covering the

two-hundred-and-fifty-four-kilometre course (which included thirty-three

climbs) in six hours, forty-nine minutes, and seventeen seconds. His

average speed was 37.32 k.p.h., the same as that of the winner, who beat

him by about three feet. Carmichael scheduled a rest day and urged

Armstrong to stay off his bicycle. "He almost never listens when I tell

him to do that," Carmichael said. "But I tell him anyway." Tuesday was an

easy day: a two-hour ride, maintaining an approximate heart rate of a

hundred and thirty-five beats a minute. The next day was more typical:

five hours over rolling terrain, with a heart rate of about a hundred and

fifty-five beats a minute and an average effort of three hundred and

twenty watts. Friday was a slow ride for two hours. Then, on Saturday,

Armstrong rode for four hours with two climbs, each lasting about half an

hour, during which he kept a heart rate of a hundred and seventy-five

beats a minute with a power expenditure of about four hundred watts. After

that, Carmichael had him draft at a fast rate behind a motorcycle for two

hours without a break. In addition, Armstrong always stretches for about

an hour a day, and during the off-season he spends hours in the gym,

improving his core strength. "Nobody else puts himself through this,"

Carmichael said. "Nobody would dare."

I have been riding a bicycle since I was a boy, and over the years, as the

technology improved, I kept trading up, from heavy steel to aluminum, and

then to titanium. Only once have I travelled more than a hundred miles in

a day; I have never entered a race (or wanted to), and I don't ride

particularly fast. Yet, like a lot of middle-aged cycling enthusiasts, I

now have a bicycle that is far better than I am and I have become a

fetishistic devotee of the sport. I have never quite permitted myself to

attend bicycle camp or to take lessons from a bicycle mechanic (though I

have considered both). But I have never seen Campagnolo gears, an

aerodynamically advanced set of wheels, or a complicated cycle computer

that I didn't want to buy. My apartment is littered with catalogues

advertising "carbon titanium supercycles," and bicycling magazines with

stories about obscure pro races.

Every month or two, Carmichael tests Armstrong's capacity to generate

power—or watts—and, when I told him that I rode a lot, he suggested that

if he tested me in the same way I might have a better sense of what these

measures really meant.

Our plan was to cruise up into the mountains not far from Carmichael's

office, in a converted grain barn in downtown Colorado Springs. The wind

was strong enough so that he asked if I wanted to reconsider. The answer

was yes, of course, but that's not what I said. We rode for about five

miles through the thin air six thousand feet above sea level. Carmichael

chatted the whole time—about pedal motion, femur length (the longer the

better, since length improves leverage), gearing choices, and the finer

details of carbon-fibre technology. I gasped and answered only when I had

to. We rode into North Cheyenne Cañon until, finally, it looked as if we

had ridden as far as he could ask me to go. Carmichael got off his bike.

"Now the test begins," he said. He pointed at the mountain slope—it wasn't

as steep as some of the slopes in France, but it looked unconquerable

nonetheless—and said, "I want you to ride as fast as you can up that road

for ten minutes and then come back."

I was seriously winded within two minutes. My legs were burning within

five. I remember watching four men and women climbing a steep rock face

and rappelling down. They waved at me, but I was far too light-headed to

risk lifting an arm from the handlebars. Finally, I couldn't take it

anymore. (I managed to continue for eight minutes and thirty-two seconds.

Naïvely, I had asked Carmichael what I should do when I reached the top.

"You won't be seeing the top," he had said.) I turned the bike around and

met up with Carmichael, and we coasted most of the way back to the office.

Then we looked at my data: I had generated an average of two hundred watts

on the test, and had climbed exactly one mile. Carmichael told me that a

decent pro cyclist would have put out at least four hundred watts, and

that the stragglers at the end of the peloton (known as the gruppetto)

would clock in at perhaps three hundred and fifty. Armstrong—in top Tour

shape—would have come close to five hundred.

I stared at the graph of my performance, which Carmichael and his

colleagues had printed out for me. I had managed to generate four hundred

and seventy watts for just ten seconds. That's about average for Armstrong

over the course of a four-hour ride.

After that humbling experience, I went across town to see Edmund Burke, a

former physiologist for the U.S. Olympic cycling team, who has written

several books on training for cyclists (including one with Carmichael). "I

think the genius of Chris is that he understands how much small gains

matter," Burke said. "In fact, small gains are all you will ever see.

People will say, 'You have shown only half a per cent of improvement.'

Well, half a per cent is huge. I am not talking marketing or sales here. I

am talking about élite athletic performance."

Carmichael takes nothing for granted and relies heavily on technology. (He

noted with approval, for instance, that Greg LeMond won the Tour by just

eight seconds, on the last day of the race, in 1989. He was the first

cyclist in the Tour to use aerodynamically tapered handlebars for the

final time trial. "It made all the difference," Carmichael said.

"Technology might not win you the Tour. But why wouldn't you want to have

the best chances possible?") Every few months, Armstrong trains in a wind

tunnel, which allows Carmichael to measure his aerodynamic efficiency

under a variety of conditions. He will push his seat back a centimetre or

his stem up a few millimetres. (Each adjustment is a trade-off between

power and speed; when you sit farther back, you can use more of your leg

muscles, but you also expose more of your body to the resistance of the


Carmichael takes the same radical approach to the physical limits of

endurance. It had long been assumed, for example, that aerobic power

doesn't vary greatly in adults. Carmichael refutes this emphatically.

"Look at Lance," he said to me in his office one day. Over the past eight

years, through specific programs aimed at building endurance and speed,

Armstrong has increased this critical value—his aerobic power—by sixteen

per cent. That means he saves almost four minutes in a sixty-kilometre

time trial.

In fact, Armstrong is superior to other athletes in two respects: he can

rely on his aerobic powers longer, and his anaerobic abilities are

unusually high as well. When muscles begin to work beyond their aerobic

ability, they produce lactic acid, which eventually accumulates and causes

a burning sensation well known to anyone who has ever run too far or too

fast. Somehow, though, Armstrong produces less lactic acid than others do,

and metabolizes it more effectively. "For whatever physiological

reason—and science can't really explain it, because we don't know that

much about what is occurring—the effect is clear," Carmichael said. "Lance

goes on when others are done."

At the end of last year's Tour, the French sports newspaper L'Équipe ran

an article with the headline "SHOULD WE BELIEVE IN ARMSTRONG?," suggesting

it was time to consider the possibility that, since Armstrong has never

been found guilty of doping, he may indeed be innocent.

After I watched Armstrong train and spent time with his coaches, the only

way I could be convinced that he uses illegal drugs would be to see him

inject them. After all, the doubts about him have always been a function

of his excellence. Greg LeMond, America's first Tour de France champion

(he has also won three times), put it well, if somewhat uncharitably,

after Armstrong won the 2001 Tour: "If Lance is clean, it is the greatest

comeback in the history of sport. If he isn't, it would be the greatest

fraud." It is impossible to prove a negative, and so Armstrong can do

nothing to dispel the doubts. But his frustration is clear; in 2000, he

made a television ad for Nike in which he said, "Everybody wants to know

what I'm on. What am I on? I'm on my bike, busting my ass six hours a day.

What are you on?"

If the French don't approve of Armstrong, it is not only—or even

principally—because they suspect him of using drugs. They don't believe

that he suffers enough. French intellectuals love the agony displayed on

the roads each July in the same way that American writers love to wail

over the fate of the Red Sox. Thirty years ago, before much was known

about sports nutrition, riders would finish the race—if they could—having

lost twenty pounds, their eyes vacant even in victory. Armstrong

represents a new kind of athlete. He has been at the forefront of a

technological renaissance that has made European cycling purists

uncomfortable. Referring to the gulf that now exists between the race and

the racers, the French philosopher Robert Redeker has written, "The

athletic type represented by Lance Armstrong, unlike Fausto Coppi or Jean

Robic"—two cycling heroes from a generation ago—"is coming closer to Lara

Croft, the virtually fabricated cyber-heroine. Cycling is becoming a video

game; the onetime 'prisoners of the road' have become virtual human beings

. . . Robocop on wheels, someone no fan can relate to or identify with."

"It's so funny to hear people talk that way about Lance," Craig Nichols,

Armstrong's oncologist, told me. "The fact is that no cyclist can have

seen more pain than he has. The hard work and the inconvenience of the

Tour just can't scare him, because he has been through so much worse."

Despite Bruyneel's warning not to push himself on the treacherous slope of

the Col de Joux Plane, Armstrong was spinning the pedals a hundred times a

minute, faster than any other competitor. (This cadence is a technique

that he, Carmichael, and Bruyneel have been working on for years.) With

just two days to go, Armstrong was in the lead of the Dauphiné Libéré, and

there was little doubt that he would go on to win the race. ("There are

not so many guys left," Bruyneel said to me with a smile and a shrug. "If

he feels good, you have to let him go.") It would have been

understandable—maybe even smart—for Armstrong to take it slow just a few

weeks before the Tour. Yet clearly he wasn't going to be satisfied unless

he also took this stage.

"Good job, Lance!" Bruyneel cheered into the radio. "Go! Go! Go!"

Armstrong picked up speed; he was dropping his opponents one by one.

"Moreau is done, Lance, he is over!" Bruyneel shouted into the radio as

Armstrong whizzed by Christophe Moreau, the lead rider for Crédit

Agricole. "Go if you can. But, remember, the mountain is not your friend."

"Kivilev is dropped, Kivilev is dropped!" Bruyneel screamed, as Armstrong

began to pedal faster. "Lance, get on Menchov's wheel. He is a great train

to the top." Denis Menchov, of the team, is a fine climber.

Bruyneel had hoped that Armstrong would glide in behind him and conserve

energy on the way up. Instead, Armstrong blew past Menchov, and then

overtook the last two men between him and the summit. He wove through the

fans gathered at the top of the mountain.

Armstrong shifted into a higher gear to descend, and suddenly he was in

trouble. His radio stopped working, his leg began to cramp, and Kivilev

and Moreau were gaining on him. 'Twenty-seven seconds," Bruyneel said. He

was screaming. "Lance, they are gaining!" We could see the little ski

resort of Morzine in the near distance. Chalets were built everywhere into

the steep slopes of the mountain. The thickening wall of fans suggested

that we must be near the end, but we were driving so fast that it was hard

to tell.

Incredibly, Bruyneel drove right up beside Armstrong. He was in pain and

was massaging his thigh while pedalling as fast as he could. "Six

seconds!" Bruyneel shouted out the window at full speed. "Move!"

Armstrong barrelled across the finish line, six seconds before his rivals.

He got off his bike and hobbled directly into a tent that had been set up

for drug testing. When he emerged, he came over to say hello. I

congratulated him on winning the stage. "It's always fun to win," he said,

smiling broadly. "But, man, I am in such agony."

 Topic 53 of 64 [austin]: Lance Armstrong and bicycling as a sport
 Response 7 of 34: Paul Terry Walhus (terry) * Tue, Jul 16, 2002 (19:55) * 23 lines

(a frame in

This is great! There's a *live webcast* of the Tour de France. No
commercials. You need WMP.

Here's the schedule.

Wednesday, July 17 - Stage 10 9:30am-11:30am ET
Thursday, July 18 - Stage 11 8:30am-11:30am ET
Friday, July 19 - Stage 12 8:30am-11:30am ET
Saturday, July 20 - Stage 13 9:30am-11:30am ET
Sunday, July 21 - Stage 14 9:30am-11:30am ET
Monday, July 22 - Rest Day No Live Audio
Tuesday, July 23 - Stage 15 9:30am-11:30am ET
Wednesday, July 24 - Stage 16 7:30am-11:30am ET
Thursday, July 25 - Stage 17 8:30am-11:30am ET
Friday, July 26 - Stage 18 9:30am-11:30am ET
Saturday, July 27 - Stage 19 9:30am-11:30am ET
Sunday, July 28 - Stage 20 9:30am-11:30am ET

 Topic 53 of 64 [austin]: Lance Armstrong and bicycling as a sport
 Response 8 of 34: Paul Terry Walhus (terry) * Fri, Jul 19, 2002 (21:18) * 38 lines 
The New Yorker article. It was great.

Did I say.

It was great. They pointed out that Lance's resting pulse is 32 beats per
minute, his heart is a third bigger than the average mans, and his thigh
bones are the perfect height for pumping pedals, which is pumps about 100
times a minute on hard mountain climbs.

I encountered him at BookPeople at Central Market one time. I was walking
out of the store and he spotted me and held the door open for me when I
was about 40 feet away, he smiled and strode off across the parking lot.
I got the impression of a small but exceeding powerful and conscious man.

He's friends with Robin Williams, another cyclist. Did you catch his
comments on Lance in the HBO Special ("he' not on chemicals, you idiots .
. . he's on *chemo* . . . having his testicle removed makes him more

Here's an article on his rigorous training regimen:

Here are some super places to follow the rest of the Tour de France, about
ten more days.

webcast audio and comprehensive covrage and

And finally the great NYer article:

 Topic 53 of 64 [austin]: Lance Armstrong and bicycling as a sport
 Response 9 of 34: Paul Terry Walhus (terry) * Sun, Jul 21, 2002 (22:35) * 1 lines 
Surprise! oln blew away CBS today with it's coverage of the Tour de France. Lance came in third but he about doubled his overall lead to 4 minutes and something. What a powerful stretch drive by Austin's cycling powerhouse up France's most daunting challenge of the Tour de France. The Spaniard challenged him and he just turned on the afterburners and it was bye bye to the rest of the pack.

 Topic 53 of 64 [austin]: Lance Armstrong and bicycling as a sport
 Response 10 of 34: Paul Terry Walhus (terry) * Thu, Jul 25, 2002 (10:25) * 30 lines 
Lance maintains a plus 5 minute lead over Botero with two others neaby.

Thursday, July 25 - Stage 17
8:30am-11:30am ET -Live!
3:00pm-5:00pm ET - Re-air of live coverage
9:00pm-11:00pm ET / 10:00pm-12:00am PT - Commentary & analysis of day's stage

Friday, July 26 - Stage 18
9:30am-11:30am ET -Live!
3:00pm-5:00pm ET - Re-air of live coverage
9:00pm-11:00pm ET / 10:00pm-12:00am PT - Commentary & analysis of day's stage

Saturday, July 27 - Stage 19
9:30am-11:30am ET -Live!
3:00pm-5:00pm ET - Re-air of live coverage
9:00pm-11:00pm ET / 10:00pm-12:00am PT - Commentary & analysis of day's stage

Sunday, July 28 - Stage 20
Live audio coverage available on - 9:30am-11:30am. Visit the Listen Live page.

CBS Coverage
2:00pm - 3:00pm ET

OLN Coverage
9:00pm-11:00pm ET / 10:00pm-12:00am PT - Commentary & analysis of day's stage

Thursday, August 22 - Post-race Show
8:00pm ET/PT
Join Phil Liggett and Paul Sherwen for a re-cap of the most exciting moments of the 2002 Tour de France.

 Topic 53 of 64 [austin]: Lance Armstrong and bicycling as a sport
 Response 11 of 34: Paul Terry Walhus (terry) * Thu, Jul 25, 2002 (21:42) * 3 lines 
Sunday August 4th 1pm OLN, New York City bike race.

Lance will be there.

 Topic 53 of 64 [austin]: Lance Armstrong and bicycling as a sport
 Response 12 of 34: JOE  (g7hvp) * Fri, Jul 26, 2002 (10:55) * 2 lines 
Will Lance Cycle the Atlantic first or take the long path he
hi good enough to do it.

 Topic 53 of 64 [austin]: Lance Armstrong and bicycling as a sport
 Response 13 of 34: Paul Terry Walhus (terry) * Fri, Jul 26, 2002 (13:00) * 1 lines 
All he has to do now is play it safe, avoid crashes and sickness. Five minuates may not seem like much, but it's actually a pretty huge lead.

 Topic 53 of 64 [austin]: Lance Armstrong and bicycling as a sport
 Response 14 of 34: NittanyLion   (MarciaH) * Fri, Jul 26, 2002 (13:18) * 1 lines 
5 minutes is like hours in a contest like this. He should bide his time and not do anything stupid like overextending himself or taking risks. I am pulling for him!

 Topic 53 of 64 [austin]: Lance Armstrong and bicycling as a sport
 Response 15 of 34: JOE  (g7hvp) * Fri, Jul 26, 2002 (14:52) * 2 lines 
I watch the race every day live and they all deserve a medal but Lance seems
to be a rarity which pop up from time to time in sport.

 Topic 53 of 64 [austin]: Lance Armstrong and bicycling as a sport
 Response 16 of 34: NittanyLion   (MarciaH) * Fri, Jul 26, 2002 (19:36) * 1 lines 
Yup, he will be like all the record holders in any sport. One for the books! And, he did it the hard way - fighting for his life. I have also been watching and looking at the scenery in the background whenever possible.

 Topic 53 of 64 [austin]: Lance Armstrong and bicycling as a sport
 Response 17 of 34: Paul Terry Walhus (terry) * Fri, Jul 26, 2002 (20:53) * 1 lines 
Tomorrow are the time trials and Lance is out to win this one.

 Topic 53 of 64 [austin]: Lance Armstrong and bicycling as a sport
 Response 18 of 34: Paul Terry Walhus (terry) * Sat, Jul 27, 2002 (23:03) * 1 lines 
And he did! Tomorrow's the big ride around the Champs Elyses.

 Topic 53 of 64 [austin]: Lance Armstrong and bicycling as a sport
 Response 19 of 34: Paul Terry Walhus (terry) * Sun, Jul 28, 2002 (08:43) * 10 lines 
Can't get the oln feed today.

oln tv is blocked out in favor the the CBS delayed and sanitized version at
1 pm CST.

So I found another live audio feed:

You'll get commercials in French but the commentary is in English.

 Topic 53 of 64 [austin]: Lance Armstrong and bicycling as a sport
 Response 20 of 34: Paul Terry Walhus (terry) * Mon, Jul 29, 2002 (10:59) * 1 lines 
Lance won and displayed great class in his interviews and comments afterward. That makes four in a row and only one other man has won five in a row, Indurain.

 Topic 53 of 64 [austin]: Lance Armstrong and bicycling as a sport
 Response 21 of 34: JOE  (g7hvp) * Mon, Jul 29, 2002 (12:59) * 2 lines 
Lance says he will race for at least two more years, new records to come?

 Topic 53 of 64 [austin]: Lance Armstrong and bicycling as a sport
 Response 22 of 34: Paul Terry Walhus (terry) * Mon, Jul 29, 2002 (13:23) * 1 lines 
Rumsas and David Millar could put up a challenge to Lance next year, his chances hinge on whether or not he can come back with a good team again.

 Topic 53 of 64 [austin]: Lance Armstrong and bicycling as a sport
 Response 23 of 34: JOE  (g7hvp) * Tue, Jul 30, 2002 (08:39) * 1 lines 
Dave Miller says he hopes to win the tour in abour 3 years after Lance retires

 Topic 53 of 64 [austin]: Lance Armstrong and bicycling as a sport
 Response 24 of 34: Paul Terry Walhus (terry) * Tue, Jul 30, 2002 (11:06) * 1 lines 
Rumsas wife got busted with a carload full of doping products yesterday, Rumsas may be on the run and the cycling governing body is going to slap him. I guess Rumsas stock is going down. Lance considers h9im to be the biggest threat.

 Topic 53 of 64 [austin]: Lance Armstrong and bicycling as a sport
 Response 25 of 34: Paul Terry Walhus (terry) * Tue, Jul 30, 2002 (11:08) * 50 lines 
Third Place Is in Doubt
Police Say Rumsas's Wife Had 'Doping Materials' in Car

Raimondas Rumsas's third-place finish in the Tour de France remains in place Monday pending the results of an investigation and drug tests. (Thomas Kienzle - AP)

_____What the Jerseys Mean_____

• Yellow: Overall race leader; shortest time for total distance covered. The most coveted jersey.
• Polka dots: King of the Mountains. The best climber wears this jersey.
• Green: The best sprinter. Points are awarded for intermediate and final sprints on flat terrain.

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By Keith B. Richburg
Washington Post Foreign Service
Tuesday, July 30, 2002; Page D02

PARIS, July 29 -- The ever-present specter of doping cast a shadow over the Tour de France when the Italian team Lampre-Daikin announced it was suspending its captain and star, Lithuanian rider Raimondas Rumsas, after his wife was detained by French customs police for carrying "suspicious" medical products.

Rumsas finished third overall Sunday in the Tour and shared the podium with Lance Armstrong, who was celebrating his fourth consecutive Tour de France win. Rumsas, 30, stood to Armstrong's left as a French military band played "The Star-Spangled Banner."

But hours before Sunday's final race stage began, customs police detained Edita Rumsas after searching a car she was driving at Chamonix in the Alps near the Italian border. A police spokeswoman said customs police discovered "medications that could be considered doping materials" in the car.

Edita Rumsas is in police custody in Lyon, although she has not been formally charged. Rumsas has returned to his home in Marlia, Italy, with the rest of the team. Edita had been with her husband throughout the race, but left by car before the race ended.

Police declined to specify the kind or amount of material she was carrying when apprehended.

On Sunday night, French police in Paris entered

 Topic 53 of 64 [austin]: Lance Armstrong and bicycling as a sport
 Response 26 of 34: Paul Terry Walhus (terry) * Tue, Jul 30, 2002 (11:10) * 13 lines 
July 30, 2002 08:30 AM ET

MADRID (Reuters) - Lithuanian rider Raimondas Rumsas, who became embroiled
in a doping probe after customs officials found drugs in his wife's car
following this year's Tour de France, has denied taking any banned

"I have ridden this Tour in a completely honest and legal manner," the
30-year-old cyclist, who came third in the race, told Spanish daily El
Mundo Tuesday.;jsessionid=2XBX3KUBSWW3SCRBAELCFEY?type=sportnews&StoryID=1268443

 Topic 53 of 64 [austin]: Lance Armstrong and bicycling as a sport
 Response 27 of 34: Paul Terry Walhus (terry) * Tue, Jul 30, 2002 (20:06) * 1 lines 
Lance will be back in Austin in September, I'm looking forwarding to attending the homecoming. It will be a grand occasion for Austin, Texas.

 Topic 53 of 64 [austin]: Lance Armstrong and bicycling as a sport
 Response 28 of 34: Paul Terry Walhus (terry) * Wed, Apr 16, 2003 (03:51) * 5 lines

Armstrong's wife says that she and Lance are working at reconciling their
marriage, and plan to reunite in Europe before and through the TDF.

 Topic 53 of 64 [austin]: Lance Armstrong and bicycling as a sport
 Response 29 of 34: Paul Terry Walhus (terry) * Thu, Jul 17, 2003 (18:34) * 28 lines 
US Postal got off to a good start by winning the team time trial on day
one. As usual, Outdoor Life Network is doing great coverage, live, every
day except on the weekend when do a delay in the evening. Victor Hugo
Pena of Postal got the first yellow jersey with Lance just a second

"This year [2002], Mr. Armstrong has been appearing regularly on French
television, speaking in French. He's signing more autographs and seems to
be making an effort to become more open with the passionate French cycling
fans. "

"He speaks french! Badly, though: "Il est le plus grand threat!" (he meant
menace). "

Tyler Hamilton is riding with a broken collarbone, victim of an early
crash in the Tour.

The OLN announcers are great with Phil Ligget and Paul being joined by a
flirtatious, bold blond newcomer Kristen Bug and funnyman Bob Roll. Roll
won't be coming to a Comedy Club near you any time soon.

 Topic 53 of 64 [austin]: Lance Armstrong and bicycling as a sport
 Response 30 of 34: Paul Terry Walhus (terry) * Thu, Jul 24, 2003 (20:55) * 5 lines 
Lance is ove a minute ahead of the second place Jan Ulrich going in to the
final few days on the road to Paris. Magnificent effort by Tyler Hamilton
a couple of days ago in the last mountain stage. "He made a bold move",
said Lance, of the rider with the broken collarbone.

 Topic 53 of 64 [austin]: Lance Armstrong and bicycling as a sport
 Response 31 of 34: Paul Terry Walhus (terry) * Sat, Jul 26, 2003 (09:20) * 15 lines 
Both Ulrich and Armstrong are out on the course as I write this.

This most likely will decide this years Tour de France.

It's a 30 mile individual time trial. Man against man.

It's rainy and treacherous out on the course. At least it's not hot,
that's what did Lance in during the last time trial.

Ulrich is ahead by 6 seconds so far, Lance is ahead by a minute five

I hope they don't risk too much. This is a very tricky run.

Follow it on OLN or

 Topic 53 of 64 [austin]: Lance Armstrong and bicycling as a sport
 Response 32 of 34: Paul Terry Walhus (terry) * Fri, Aug  1, 2003 (02:41) * 20 lines 
Lance did a two hour interview on OLN tv (channel 608 if have Directv) and
it may still be in reruns.

When asked about the crash, he said he looked at the reruns and it didn't
look to him like Ullrich was "waiting" for him; he said Jan had on his
face and it looked like he was bearing down until Tyler Hamilton ran up
got everyone to slow down. He said the race was full of "little problems"
like cooling down with misting machines way too much before the first time
trial which caused him to break out in a sweat and he went in to a bunch
other stuff. The stuff he referred to as the stuff that "people don't
about" in an interview during the race.

It was a riveting two hour wrap up with Paul Sherwyn and Phil Leggett and
highly recommend it if you can catch it on an OLN rerun.

 Topic 53 of 64 [austin]: Lance Armstrong and bicycling as a sport
 Response 33 of 34: Admin Guy 2004 (admin) * Thu, Feb 12, 2004 (13:01) * 1 lines 
We still have it tivoed.

 Topic 53 of 64 [austin]: Lance Armstrong and bicycling as a sport
 Response 34 of 34: Paul Terry Walhus (terry) * Wed, Feb 18, 2004 (08:20) * 4 lines 
Lance is getting ready for this years tour in central California. He's
been seen laying around the beach with Cheryl Crow.

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