Looking back at the American cyclist's controversial career
Created by robsinclair on Jan 23, 2011
Last updated: 06/10/11 at 02:07 PM
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Calling it "Retirement 2.0", Armstrong concludes his pro cycling career nearly a month after finishing 65th in the Tour Down Under, his final race. "Never say never," the 39-year-old says in announcing his retirement. "Just kidding."
As Armstrong cycles in his final international race, the Tour Down Under, Sports Illustrated challenges a statement that he severed ties with Dr. Michele Ferrari, an Italian linked to EPO. Asked to respond to SI's allegations, Armstrong tells reporters he isn't worried "on any level."
Floyd Landis, a former teammate, accuses Armstrong of doping, of helping other elite cyclists cheat and of bribing a top UCI official to keep quiet a positive result for EPO in 2002. Armstrong counters by calling it "a troubling, angry and misplaced effort at retribution by Landis for his perceived slights," adding that Landis, as an admitted steroid user, has zero credibility.
The Los Angeles Times reports that testimony from a researcher claiming that a re-analysis of Armstrong’s 1999 urine tests are consistent with steroid injections. The Times also publishes testimony of instant messaging logs between Andreu and fellow former Armstrong teammate Jonathan Vaughters, who disavows making any comments on doping. Armstrong calls the allegations “baseless”.
French newspaper Le Monde reports testimony made by ex-teammate Frankie Andreu and his spouse that Armstrong admitted to doctors he used steroids after his brain surgery in 1996. Armstrong denies saying anything to doctors about steroids.
Dutch lawyer Emile Vrijman is appointed by the UCI to investigate the handling of the 2004 re-tests at France's national anti-doping laboratory. Vrijman's final report "exonerates Lance Armstrong completely with respect to alleged use of doping in the 1999 Tour de France."
French newspaper L’Equipe reports that Armstrong's 1999 urine samples produced positive results for erythropoietin in re-testing, but the tests were improperly conducted. Armstrong denies the allegations yet refuses to have the samples re-tested properly.
Armstrong wins his seventh Tour de France by four minutes 40 seconds over Ivan Basso and announces his retirement immediately following the race.
Mike Anderson, Armstrong’s ex-mechanic, testifies in court that he found a box labelled "Andro" — a term used to describe androstenedione, a banned steroid — in Armstrong's bathroom. Armstrong denies using andro.
Armstrong wins a record sixth consecutive Tour de France. But two reporters publish a book in which his former masseuse claims she disposed of syringes and covered up needle marks on his arms with makeup. A former teammate also claims they used steroids. Armstrong issues an emphatic denial and assails the book, L.A. Confidential: The Secrets of Lance Armstrong in 2004, by Pierre Ballester and David Walsh.
Armstrong wins his fifth Tour de France by 61 seconds over Jan Ullrich. The race is memorable because Armstrong beats Ullrich in Stage 15 after crashing when the strap of a spectator's backpack gets caught on his handlebars.
Armstrong wins his fourth Tour de France by seven minutes 17 seconds over Joseba Beloki, eclipsing Greg Lemond's record of three Tour career wins by an American. Armstrong completes the challenging 2,032-mile course in 82 hours, five minutes and 12 seconds.
Armstrong wins his third Tour de France. However, he is linked to controversial trainer Michele Ferrari, who later is accused and cleared of fraud and abuse of the medical profession. Armstrong acknowledges the controversy but he denies using steroids.
Armstrong wins his second Tour de France by six minutes two seconds over rival Jan Ullrich. Armstrong takes 92 hours 33 minutes and eight seconds to complete the 3,630-kilometre course, which runs counter-clockwise around France and passes through Switzerland and Germany.
Armstrong wins the Tour de France for the first time by seven minutes 37 seconds over Alex Zulle, a feat worthy of a White House visit. Armstrong dedicates his victory to fellow cancer survivors, who, he hopes, will be inspired by his success. "I hope it sends out a fantastic message to all survivors around the world," he says. "We can return to what we were before - and even better."
Armstrong returns to cycling and scales the Appalachian Mountains in North Carolina.
Armstrong, 25, is diagnosed with Stage 3 testicular cancer, which he is told has spread to his lungs, abdomen and brain. Given a 50-50 chance of survival, Armstrong undertakes an alternative treatment method to avoid lung toxicology and has his final chemotherapy treatment before Christmas.
Armstrong becomes the first repeat winner of the Tour DuPont, leading the race for the final 11 days and bettering Pascal Herve by three minutes 15 seconds. Armstrong's five stage wins broke Eric Vanderaerden's race record of four set in 1989, when it was known as the Tour de Trump.
Armstrong is the first American to win the La Fleche Wallonne.
Armstrong wins the Clasica de San Sebastian just ahead of Italian Stefano Della Santa. The pair broke from the pack with less than four kilometres left and Armstrong slipstreamed to within sight of the finish line before sprinting to victory.
Armstrong outduelled defending champion Viatcheslav Ekimov to win the Tour DuPont, becoming the second American to win America's best-known stage race. Greg LeMond won it in 1992.
Armstrong wins the Thrift Drug Classic and CoreStates Championship, but he fails to win the K-Mart Classic and is denied a second Triple Crown and the $1 million it brings.
Lance Armstrong wins his first-ever stage in the Tour de France, the eighth stage from Chalons-sur-Marne to Verdun. It was a portent of things to come.
Armstrong is the first American to win the Thrift Drug Triple Crown and its $1-million in prize money. The Triple Crown consisted of three races in Pittsburgh, West Virginia and Philadelphia and Thrift Drug promised the prize money if a rider won all three - an unprecedented feat at the time.