Tour de France
The 88th Tour de France (July 7-29) ran 20 stages plus a prologue, covering 2,150 miles starting in Dunkirk, France passing through the Alps and Pyrenees in France and finishing on the Avenue des Champs-Elysees in Paris.
Lance Armstrong became the first American to win three consecutive Tours de France with another stunning victory. He finished in 86 hours, 17 minutes and 28 seconds, defeating his main competitor, Jan Ullrich of Germany, by 6 minutes and 44 seconds.
Armstrong dominated in the grueling mountain stages through the Alps and Pyrenees. After the first nine stages of relatively flat racing, he found himself in 23rd place, over 35 minutes behind the leader. Then came the mountain stages. After stage 12, he had closed the gap to nine minutes. And when stage 13 was complete, he was in the lead, grabbing the famed yellow jersey and keeping it for the rest of the race.
Less than three years before Armstrong rode down the Champs-Elysees for his first Tour de France victory in 1999, he was diagnosed with testicular cancer. The cancer then spread to his lungs and his brain and doctors gave him less than a 40 percent chance of survival. He underwent two operations and extensive chemotherapy and began his comeback in early 1998. He is only the second American to win cycling's premier event.