LANCE ARMSTRONG. American former professional road racing cyclist. The winner of The Tour De France seven consecutive times from 1999 to 2005, but he was later stripped of those victories in 2012 after a protracted doping scandal. At age 16, Armstrong began competing as a triathlete and was a national sprint-course triathlon champion in 1989 and 1990. In 1992, he began his career as a professional cyclist with the Motorola team. He had notable success between 1993 and 1996, including the World Championship in 1993 and a handful of stage victories in Europe (including stage 18 of the 1995 Tour). In 1996, he was diagnosed with a potentially fatal metastatic testicular cancer. After his recovery, he founded the Lance Armstrong Foundation (now the Livstrong Foundation) to assist other cancer survivors. By January 1998, he had renewed serious cycling training, having signed a new racing contract with US Postal. He was a member of the US Postal / Discovery team between 1998 and 2005 in which he won his seven Tour de France titles, as well as a bronze medal in the 2000 Summer Olympics. In July 2005, he retired from racing at the end of the 2005 Tour De France, but returned to competitive cycling with the Astana team in January 2009, finishing third in the 2009 Tour later that year. Between 2010 and 2011, he raced with the UCI Pro Team he helped found, Team Radio Shack. He retired for a second time in 2011. He had been the subject of doping allegations ever since winning the 1999 Tour. In 2012, a US Anti-Doping Agency investigation concluded that Armstrong had used performance-enhancing drugs over the course of his career and named him as the ringleader of "the most sophisticated, professionalized and successful doping program that sport has ever seen". He chose not to contest the charges, citing the potential toll on his family. As a result, he received a lifetime ban from competing in all sports that follow the World Ani-Doping Agency Code, effectively ending his athletic career. He was also stripped of all of his achievements after 1998, including his seven Tour de France titles. On October 22nd 2012, the Union Cycliste Internationale upheld USADA's decision. They also decided that his stripped wins would not be allocated to other riders. He chose not to appeal the decision. In a 2013 interview, Lance Armstrong confessed that some of the allegations were true, but he has declined to testify about the full extent of his use of the drugs. In the aftermath of his fall from grace, a CNN article wrote that ; "The epic downfall of cycling's star, once an idolized icon of millions around the globe, stands out in the history of all professional sports ..."
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