Sunday, July 25, 2004

The Joy of Six

Unprecedented. Dominating. Exhilarating. Lance!
Lance Armstrong rode into history Sunday by winning the Tour de France for a record sixth time, an achievement that confirmed him as one of the greatest sportsmen of all time.

His sixth crown in six dominant years elevated Armstrong above four champions who won five times. And never in its 101-year-old history has the Tour had a winner like Armstrong -- a Texan who just eight years ago was given less than a 50 percent chance of overcoming testicular cancer that spread to his lungs and brain.

Armstrong's unbeaten streak since 1999 has helped reinvigorate the greatest race in cycling, steering it into the 21st century. And the Tour, as much a part of French summers as languid meals over chilled rose, molded Armstrong into a sporting superstar.

No. 6. The record. The achievement was almost too much even for Armstrong to comprehend.

"It might take years. I don't know. It hasn't sunk in yet. But six, standing on the top step on the podium on the Champs-Elysees is really special," he said.


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