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The story of Lance Armstrong is the stuff that legends are made of.
A promising young cyclist in the early 1990s, Armstrong won the World Championship in 1993, and captured two stages in the Tour de France, one of the most grueling sporting events on the planet.
But he hadn't really penetrated the consciousness of the public-at-large until his announcement in 1996 that he was suffering from stage-three testicular cancer, an illness that eventually spread to his lungs and his brain. He was given a less than 50 percent chance of survival.
He went through a long, painful, and exhausting treatment and recovery process, and amazingly, emerged out the other side cancer-free, and wanting to get back on the bike. He returned to professional road racing in 1998, but few people expected him to really be able to get back to his old form.
Instead, he exceeded anyone's wildest predictions, establishing himself as a serious international contender with a fourth-place finish in the 1998 Vuelta a Espana, before tackling the 1999 Tour de France, his first return to the mythical race in three years. A new athlete, leaner, more fit, more determined, Armstrong shocked the sporting world by winning the overall title that year, instantly becoming a lightning rod for cancer survivors all over the world.
He would go on to win the Tour de France seven years in a row between 1999 and 2005, and used his fame as a platform to rally the world community to the cause of curing cancer. He established the Lance Armstrong Foundation and has raised hundreds of millions of dollars for the cause of research and treatment.
He executed a second comeback in 2009, returning to the sport after a three-year absence to continue his mission of promoting cancer research around the globe. Think what you will about the allegations of doping, but Armstrong has done more to promote cancer research than any other athlete in the world and remains a powerful symbol of resilience and hope.