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Jul 25 2004

Lance Armstrong - 6th Tour de France Victory

044lancesix1.jpg

Lance Armstrong today became not only cycling's greatest rider ever but one of the greatest athletes of all time. He is the first to win six grueling Tour de France races, cycling's equivalent of the World Series, the Super Bowl and the Indy 500 all wrapped up into one. And, this after having been given less than a 50% chance of living in 1996 when he was diagnosed with advanced testicular cancer which had spread to his lungs and brain.

045lancesix2.jpg

In the 101 year history of the Tour de France (but only 91 races due to war), four other riders have won five times: Belgian Eddy "the Cannibal" Merckx, Spaniard Miguel Indurain and Frenchmen Bernard Hinault and Jacques Anquetil.

046lancesix3.jpg

The 2004 Tour de France covered more than 2100 miles comprised of 20 stages including 11 flat stages, 6 mountain stages, 2 individual time-trial stages, and 1 team time-trial stage. The layout of the race this year was admittedly designed to make it as difficult as possible for Lance to win. However, the race officials couldn't overcome the fact that Lance has no weaknesses as he can hold his own against anyone in the flats, he can out climb everyone in the mountains and he can blow everyone away in the time trials.

047lancesix4.jpg

Lance's victories are in no small part due to his tremendous teammates who ride for the U.S. Postal team known as the Blue Train which this year included: Portuguese Jos頁zevedo, Spaniard Manuel Beltran, Russian Viatceslav Ekimov, American George Hincapie, American Floyd Landis, Spaniard Gonzalez Noval Benjamin, Czechoslovakian Pavel Padrnos and Spaniard Jos頌uis Rubiera.

048lancesix5.jpg Posted by Don |

5 Comments

  1. #1
    missy said on July 25, 2004 | Reply

    He is amazing, isn't he? I'm happy for him.

  2. #2
    Kirk Chilas said on July 26, 2006 | Reply

    TO say that Lance Armstrong is the best cyclist of all time simply proves how ignorant you really are towards the sport. Any true cycling fan would know that Eddy Merckx is the best ever having won 525 professional races therefore having a winning percentage of around 33 percent. Also, the Tour de France is not the only grand tour in cycling, there is also the Vuelta a Espana and the Giro d'Italia. Since lance has won the Tour de France 7 times that makes his grand tour total winnings complete at 7. Merckx won the Tour de France 5 times, the Giro 5 times and the Vuelta once, making his grand tour winnings 11...4 more grand tours than Armstrong. Is it wrong to admit that Merckx is the best just because he's not american and you are? No, it is not. In fact, it is wrong to say that Armstrong is the best because of his nationality. Thus concludes my paragraph on cycling.

    now for the rest of your website...

    It is difficult to explain how I feel. Let me just say, your mind must be as shallow as a puddle. Since you obviously like stereotypes concerning people of Arabic decent then let me correct one for you. Jesus was an Arab, from the middle east, therefore he looked like those men you have posted pictures of as being terrorists. If you can not handle the fact that God is not some old white man in the clouds with a long white beard and white skin, then perhaps you should find a new religion, instead of ruining Christianity for every sensible person who does respect those who have different skin.
    If you have so far noticed I have restrained from using any sort of swear or otherwise offensive words. This is because as a good american Liberal, I do not see the point in them. The truth is, your mistakes are enough to cover both of us for a while, so I'll let you keep making them, that way I don't have to. Thank you for listening. If you have gotten this far into my letter then it proves you are human, you might have an ounce of reason in you... but probably not.

    Thanks,
    your fellow american
    Kirk Chilas

  3. #3
    Don said on August 1, 2006 | Reply

    [One argument at a time...first Armstrong.]

    First off, simply because one disagrees with the very subjective declaration of best cyclist of all time does not "prove how ignorant" one is of the subject. I am well aware of the excellent arguments in support of Eddy Merckx holding such title. However, you weaken your argument by starting off with the false premise that Merckx is undisputably, irrefutably, the best ever and anyone disagreeing with you must be ignorant of cycling.

    Consecutive Wins: It is hard to win the Tour de France. It is harder to win the Tour de France five times. Besides Lance Armstrong only Miguel Induráin, Bernard Hinault, Eddy Merckx, and Jacques Anquetil have won the Tour five times. It is harder yet to win consecutively which, again besides Armstrong, only Induráin was able to accomplish 1991-95. It obviously is much much harder and requires a much greater rider to win the Tour de France seven times in a row as Armstrong did than to win it five times non-consecutively as Merckx did.

    [Note: Merckx might have won a sixth victory in 1975 if he hadn't been attacked during the race by a French fan likely upset that a Belgian might beat the then record of five wins set by Frenchman Jacques Anquetil. However, a collision with another rider during a later stage resulted in Merckx breaking his jaw and unable to eat solid food so his encounter with the French fan might not have affected the outcome.]

    Average Winning Pace: Of course, if the entire peloton is riding faster, great riders such as Armstrong and Merckx, will ride faster too. Also, there have been improvements in the equipment used by riders. That said, it is still a greater accomplishment to have won a race (or seven) at the average pace of 40 km/h versus winning one (or five) at the significantly less average pace of 35 km/h.

    Armstrong 2005 41.654 km/h
    Armstrong 2004 40.553 km/h
    Armstrong 2003 40.940 km/h
    Armstrong 2002 39.930 km/h
    Armstrong 2001 40.020 km/h
    Armstrong 2000 39.570 km/h
    Armstrong 1999 40.273 km/h

    Merckx 1974 35.241 km/h
    Merckx 1972 35.514 km/h
    Merckx 1971 38.084 km/h
    Merckx 1970 35.589 km/h
    Merckx 1969 35.409 km/h

    It is always difficult to compare sports legends from different eras. Should they be compared to contemporary competitors or head to head. I would agree Merckx easily comes out ahead if they are compared within their own era; Merckx to other riders of the 60s and 70s and Armstrong to other modern day riders. However, much as if you compared world class sprinters or distance runners of the 60s and 70s to modern day champions, I believe Armstrong would easily come out victorious in a head to head competition with Merckx. It's a question for the ages...is Barry Bonds greater than Hank Aaron who's greater than Babe Ruth? It just depends on how you look at it. For me, I appreciate the nostalgia of baseball so I'll call Ruth the greatest. As for biking, I choose to compare Armstrong and Merckx without handicapping for era.

    No doubt, however, the sheer number of major victories racked up by Merckx throughout his career is unmatched now or likely ever. And, Armstrong admittedly specialized in the Tour de France. He either didn't race the broad number of races that Merckx did or he used them as training rides in order to prepare for and get in tune for his true goal the Tour de France. So, we'll never know how many TdFs Merckx would have won if that was his only or primary goal. But, just as certainly, we'll never know how many major tour victories Armstrong would have won if that was his goal. For what it's worth, one not insignificant factor that made professional racing easier for Merckx than Armstrong is growing up and living in Europe. Armstrong overcame growing up and living in America not known for fostering world class cyclists like Europe.

    Overcoming Adversity: Merckx suffered a bad bike accident in 1969 in which another rider was killed and he suffered a bad concussion, a cracked vertebra and twisted pelvis. Merckx said in interviews that he never rode the same afterwards and always suffered from pain especially while climbing.

    Armstrong, as we all known, nearly died of f'ing cancer which had metastasized, spreading to his lungs and brain. He was told he had a 50 percent chance of survival. But, after his recovery one of his doctors said Armstrong's chances were maybe as low as three percent but that he was told 50 percent in order to give him hope. Treatment included sawing two silver dollar size holes in his scull to remove brain lesions as well as removal of a testicle. Standard chemotherapy would have ended Armstrong's career as one side effect is reduced lung function. So Armstrong opted to undertake a more severe radiation regiment which was less likely to damage his lungs but which resulted in burns on the inside of his skin.

    If Armstrong had recovered and simply won one Tour de France it would have been one of, if not the, greatest comeback stories of all time. Winning seven...in a row...impossible!!!

    And that is my argument why I think Lance Armstrong is the greatest cyclist of all time. One may disagree, but that does not make them ignorant. However, if one disagrees and thinks that anyone who disagrees with them is ignorant...then that person is the truly ignorant one.

  4. #4
    Don said on August 21, 2006 | Reply

    [And now the rest...]

    "It is difficult to explain how I feel."

    I've noticed. While you were able to at least make factual references in your argument that Merckx is the greatest cyclist of all time, you are woefully lacking in factual support for the second half of your comment or, alternatively you chose to attack a straw man*.

    [*A straw man argument is a logical fallacy based on misrepresentation of an opponent's position. To "set up a straw man" or "set up a straw-man argument" is to create a position that is easy to refute, then attribute that position to the opponent.]

    "Let me just say, your mind must be as shallow as a puddle."

    I'll let the reader decide who's mind is lacking in depth.

    "Since you obviously like stereotypes concerning people of Arabic decent..."

    You fail to point out any stereotypes of people of Arabic decent that I've made on this website. This is probably because either there was no stereotype but, rather, something I said that you simply didn't like and were not able to refute so you attempt to diminish it by anonymously calling it a stereotype when it was not. Or, alternatively, there was a stereotype but it was factual and you, again, are unable to refute it.

    "Jesus was an Arab"

    All depends on your definition of "Arab." By some definitions yes, others, not so much.

    "...from the middle east"

    If this is your definition then, yes, Jesus was an Arab. But, then perhaps I'm Asian since I was born in Asia.

    "...therefore he looked like those men you have posted pictures of as being terrorists. If you can not handle the fact that God is not some old white man in the clouds with a long white beard and white skin..."

    I've never said nor remotely implied that Jesus or God is or was white skinned. (This is one of your straw man arguments.) It's clear that Jesus was olive skinned and, as for God, I think he exists outside of such earthly notions as melatonin skin content.

    However, your reference to the pictures I've posted of terrorists is interesting. The pictures and my comments relating to them are not stereotypes or, to the extent they are, they are factual stereotypes.

    The liberal media and the psychotic advocates of political correctness have incorrectly taught that all stereotypes are bad or false. This is not true. If someone were to say here comes an NBA player. The odds are simply in favor of that person being both tall and black. There are short, white and short white NBA players but statistically, the person coming is likely to be a tall black man. It's a stereotype and it's accurate.

    Likewise, we know precisely what past terrorists look like and we know what future terrorists are likely to look like. If you are uncomfortable with these facts that is your problem not mine. Perhaps you should direct your efforts less at people pointing out the stereotype and more at the people fulfilling the stereotype! Try this..."Hey, guy strapping a bomb to your chest who looks like the 9/11 terrorists...instead of blowing yourself up in the middle of a pizza parlor or bus full of school children, why don't you do something else instead of fulfilling the role of a stereotypical terrorist?"

    If all the 9/11 terrorists and the overwhelming majority of people who wanted to blow things up in America were middle-aged, tall, blond-hair, blue-eyed, Christians males from the U.S, then I'd expect when I went through a security check point to get more attention from the authorities than a young black man or an old Chinese woman. And, if I didn't like it, I'd direct my frustration, not at the authorities who are simply using their limited resources in the most cost effective fashion but, instead, at the jackass middle-aged, tall, blond-hair, blue-eyed, Christians males from the U.S who want to blow crap up!!!

    Here's a hypothetical scenario for you and everyone who's against racial profiling. Your child has been kidnapped and is being molested at this very moment and will be killed in minutes. You know what block the kidnapper lives on and the FBI profile says the kidnapper is most likely a middle-aged white male. The block is filled with middle-aged males of every race. Where do you start looking? Remember...your child is being molested right now and will be killed in minutes. Do you conduct a politically correct search starting on one side and working your way down and then back the other side? Or do you play the odds and start with the white guys? I pray you never have to make such a decision, but if anyone ever has to, I sure hope they don't let their child suffer and possibly die in the name of political correct stereotypephobia.

    "...then perhaps you should find a new religion, instead of ruining Christianity..."

    Thank you for thinking I'm powerful enough to run Christianity but I don't, nor does any person or group, have anywhere near that power. Besides, it's not Christianity that is in danger of being ruined.

    "...for every sensible person who does respect those who have different skin."

    I respect people with different skin. Hmmmm...on second thought, no I don't. This is because I don't give a rat's ass about the color of someone's skin anymore than I care about the width of their kneecap. I don't respect it...I don't disrespect it. It's just a fact that should be given no special consideration, protection, privilege or anything.

    It seems when you and others talk about respecting those with a certain skin color that they should have special privileges or that we should ignore certain facts. It is this that I'm against. It's just as wrong as ignoring legitimate FBI profiles of pedophiles, serial murders or even terrorists or pretending the NBA is made up equally of people of every height and every race.

    "If you have so far noticed I have restrained from using any sort of swear or otherwise offensive words."

    Yes, you did a very good job of this and I thank you. In fact, you did a better job than I did in my response.

    "...good american Liberal..."

    Is that an oxymoron?

    "If you have gotten this far into my letter then it proves you are human"

    Wow...you acknowledge me as human...you are so generous.

    "... you might have an ounce of reason in you... but probably not."

    Again, I'll let my readers decide which of us is working with a mere ounce of reason.

  5. #5
    Devo said on August 5, 2014 | Reply

    Well... this is an embarrassing article isn't it? Ah Lance... what a liar, cheat and absolute jerk he was

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