Monday, Apr. 26, 2004

Lance Armstrong

As he prepares to pursue his sixth consecutive Tour de France title, Lance Armstrong is once again a man in a hurry, which befits a man who has been rushing through life-altering crises and changes. He beat advanced cancer at age 26 and won his first Tour two years later. He got married, had three kids and was rich and famous by age 30. Now Armstrong, at 32, is divorced and living with rock star Sheryl Crow. If he wins the Tour again this summer, he will establish a new standard for the sport. Throw in an Olympic gold in August, and Armstrong will have lived a full life in the years since disease threatened to shorten his. His mantra: Don't make any long-term plans. "I spent many years before I got sick wondering what I was going to do, and it was a distraction. I know what I am doing this year and next, and they deserve my attention." Certainly he wants to spend more time with his kids, who live with their mother. And he may change what he does for a living. But not how he does it. That will include fighting cancer through his foundation. Given Armstrong's insane commitment to winning, cancer had better watch out.

Right now, though, the Tour is everything, and Armstrong the training fanatic is pedaling away furiously in the hills near his home in Girona, Spain. Given his age, the odds of winning another three-week, 2,100-mile Tour seem long. But anyone who wants to beat Armstrong should be prepared for pain. As he told the Times of London, "When I was sick, I didn't want to die. When I race, I don't want to lose. Dying and losing, it's the same thing."

From the Archive
10 Questions for Lance Armstrong: An interview with the cycling icon