Road

Fignon continues cancer battle

The two-time Tour de France champion was diagnosed with cancer this spring, but two rounds of painful chemotherapy have failed to cure him. Speaking in a lengthy interview with Paris-Match, Fignon says he’s realistic about his chances as he prepares for another round of chemotherapy.

Fignon in 2008. AFP File Photo

Laurent Fignon continues his struggle against cancer, but admits that he might be losing the fight against the deadly disease.

The two-time Tour de France champion was diagnosed with cancer this spring, but two rounds of painful chemotherapy have failed to cure him. Speaking in a lengthy interview with Paris-Match, Fignon says he’s realistic about his chances as he prepares for another round of chemotherapy.

“I am not dead, I am not any closer to getting cured,” he told the French weekly magazine. “We have not found a way of fighting the disease. During my last scans, they realized that the (tumors) had come back. Despite treatment of more than seven months, my cancer had barely reduced.”

The 49-year-old Fignon revealed in June that he was undergoing treatment for cancer. Originally, doctors believed that the cancer was centered in his intestinal tract. Since then, they discovered the cancer originated in his lungs.

He began the first of two chemotherapy treatments following the Tour de France in July, when he continued his work as a commentator on French television.

“After the Tour, we have seen that the first chemotherapy didn’t work very well. That treatment kept the cancer from spreading all over, but it didn’t cure me,” he said. “We did a second round, which made it diminish by 17 percent. This was supposed to be the good one, but I couldn’t bear it. We were required to stop one of the two products, but that was the one that was the most effective.

Fignon will begin a new round of chemotherapy in the coming weeks, but he’s sounding more fatalistic than he was when he first revealed his cancer battle last summer.

“I hope this next treatment will work,” he said. “No matter how strong my willpower, if we don’t find a good treatment, the cancer will overwhelm and I will die. I don’t want to die at 50, but if it’s not curable, what can I do?”

“I love life. I adore to laugh, travel, to read, eat well, just like a good Frenchman,” he said. “I am not afraid of dying, it’s just I am not ready to die.”