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Lance Armstrong - Return To The Cycling World

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Legendary Lance Armstrong is back on his bike, competitively speaking. The legendary professional road-racing cyclist recently announced his intention to race in 2009.

He's already hard at work preparing for a possible return to the Tour de France next summer. And also, early in November, he won a Texas mountain bike race.

Born in 1971, Lance Armstrong's sports career began in Plano, Texas. At age thirteen, he won the Iron Kids Triathlon.

During his senior year of high school, he was training with the U.S. Olympic cycling developmental team in Colorado Springs, Colorado. By 1991, he was the U.S. National Amateur Champion. Shortly thereafter, he joined the professional ranks.

He experienced significant success early in his professional career. He quickly earned a USPRO Championship title. He won stage victories in the Tour de France.

He also won a World Championship and garnered several wins at the Tour du Pont. On top of all that, Lance Armstrong achieved a number one world ranking and a U.S Olympic Team position.

In 1996, he was a member of the U.S. Cycling Team. That year he competed in the Atlanta Summer Olympic Games. This was also the year that Lance Armstrong signed a professional contract with the French-based Cofidis Racing Team.

In any case, the next battle facing Armstrong in 1996 was not on a cycling course. His next battle was a personal fight against cancer, which had taken hold inside him.

His particular form of cancer was one where his chances for recovery were considerably less than fifty-fifty. On the advice of his specialists, Armstrong began an aggressive program of chemotherapy. This course of treatment worked.

Lance Armstrong overcame the odds and beat cancer. Today, he devotes his efforts to helping others fight their personal battles with the disease.

After fighting his battle, he started the Lance Armstrong Foundation. He is a leader and activist, through this foundation, on behalf of cancer survivors.

The foundation provides information and tools that people require to battle cancer. The Foundation does this through education, advocacy, public health programs and research grants. Lance Armstrong works in this area with the same passion and determination that he brings to the cycling track.

Upon winning his fight with cancer, Lance Armstrong returned to cycling. Building his strength back up, he was back on course in 1997. He won his first Tour de France in 1999 as a member of the U.S. Postal Service team.

He wasn't finished, though. He proceeded to win the race the next five years in a row. He retired from cycling in 2005 after winning a record seventh Tour de France title.

Now, in 2008, Lance Armstrong is spinning his wheels again. He is training and plans a full return to racing with the Astana team next year. There is the possibility that Armstrong will attempt the Tour de France race next summer.

The Tour begins in Monaco in Casino Square on July 4, 2009 with the first stage individual time-trials over a 15-kilometer or 9.3-mile stretch. On July 5, the second stage begins in Monaco-Brignoles over a 182-kilometer or 113.1-mile stretch.

Before all that, Lance Armstrong has work to do. He is aiming at competing in the first event of the International Cycling Union (UCI) Pro Tour.

He is training to prepare himself for the Tour Down Under in Australia, which takes place in January 2009. This is his first step of his comeback in preparation for a possible run at the Tour de France title once again.

Grit, determination, and a passion for sport and quality of life are what make Lance Armstrong tick. He's a fighter on and off the cycling track. He now works to instill that same fighting spirit in others who face challenges he can definitely understand and appreciate.

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