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Lance Armstrong retires: Pre-Comeback timeline

A web version of a timeline that first ran in the january 2009 issue of VeloNews magazine

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Lifetime of the Legend Page 63
Lifetime of the Legend Page 63

The timeline below first appeared in the January 2009 issue of VeloNews.

• Born Lance Edward Gunderson on
September 18, 1971 in Dallas, Texas to 17-year-old Linda Gayle Mooneyham and Eddie Charles Gunderson. Named for Lance Retzel, a Dallas Cowboy’s wide receiver. Weighs 9 pounds, 12 ounces.

Birth father leaves, adopted by Terry Keith Armstrong

• Receives first bike, a Schwinn Mag Scrambler

AGE 13
• Receives first road bike to compete in — and win — the Ironkids triathlon

AGE 16
• Named national triathlete rookie of the year, makes $20,000 in prize money

AGE 17
• Wins national junior time trial championship
• Competes in world junior road championships in Moscow

AGE 18
• Finishes 11th in world amateur road race championship in Japan

AGE 19
• Wins Settimana Bergamasca stage race in Italy
• Wins national amateur road race championship
• Competes in junior world championships in Moscow
• Joins Subaru-Montgomery as an amateur

AGE 20
• Finishes 14th in Barcelona Olympics road race
• Turns pro with Motorola

1990 world team time trial championships
1990 world team time trial championships

AGE 21
• Wins $1 million for Thrift Drug Triple Crown of Cycling
• Wins Tour de France stage into Verdun
• Becomes world road champion in Oslo, Norway

AGE 22
• Finishes second at Liège-Bastogne-Liège and Tour DuPont

AGE 23
• Wins Tour de France stage into Limonges soon after teammate Fabio Casartellis is killed on a high-speed descent

AGE 24
• Wins Flèche Wallonne
• Wins Tour DuPont, including five stages
• Finishes sixth in Atlanta Olympics time trial

AGE 25
• Joins Cofidis
• Diagnosed with testicular cancer, which had already spread to his lungs, abdomen and brain. Chooses an alternative chemotherapy regimen to avoid the lung toxicity associated with standard treatment. Undergoes surgeries to remove brain tumors and diseased testicle
• Cofidis backs out of $2.5 million two-year deal
• December 13, 1996: Takes last chemotherapy treatment
• Founds Lance Armstrong Foundation to combat cancer
• September 4, 1997: Announces return to cycling for the 1998 season at Interbike

AGE 26
• Marries Kristin Richard
• Joins U.S. Postal Service
• Finishes 4th at Vuelta a España

2000 Olympics, Lance Armstrng, Vladimir Ekimov and Jan Ullrich
2000 Olympics, Lance Armstrong, Viatcheslav Ekimov and Jan Ullrich

AGE 27
• Wins first Tour de France, 7:37 up on Alex Zulle
“The best time trial of my life.” — on the stage 8 56km time trial in Metz, where he takes the yellow jersey

AGE 28
• Wins second Tour, 6:02 up on Jan Ullrich
• Wins a slew of mainstream awards, including Wide World of Sports Athlete of the Year, U.S. Olympic Committee Sports Man of the Year, Jesse Owens International Trophy, Reuters Sports Personality of the Year

AGE 29
• Son Luke born
• Wins third Tour, 6:44 up on Jan Ullrich
• July 17: L’Alpe d’Huez: “The look”
After feigning weakness, glances directly at Ullrich, then attacks to solo for stage victory, his first atop the Tour’s most famous climb
• Greg LeMond apologizes for inflammatory comments that seemed to accuse Armstrong of drug use

AGE 30
• Twin daughters Isabelle and Grace born
• Wins fourth Tour, 7:00 up on Joseba Beloki

AGE 31
• Wins fifth Tour, 1:01 up on Jan Ullrich
• July 13: Cannot follow Iban Mayo’s acceleration on l’Alpe d’Huez, but still takes yellow on the climb
• July 14: While chasing eventual stage winner Alexander Vinokourov, rides through a field when Joseba Beloki crashes in front of the American
• July 18: Beaten in time trial by Jan Ullrich, blaming dehydration, but holds the yellow jersey by a slim margin

AGE 32
• Wins sixth Tour, 6:19 up on Andreas Klöden
• July 17: Takes stage 13 atop Plateau de Beille, one day after losing the stage to Ivan Basso
• July 21: Weathers death threats, spitting fans and insults to win the time trial up l’Alpe d’Huez, catching and passing Basso to consolidate his lead
• July 22: After teammate Floyd Landis whittles the front group down to an elite five, outsprints Andreas Klöden to take stage 17
• Files for divorce
• Pierre Ballester and David Walsh publish “L.A. Confidentiel Les Secrets de Lance Armstrong,” Steve Swart alleges he and Armstrong began using drugs in 1995 on Motorola team. Allegations reprinted in UK newspaper the Sunday Times. Armstrong sues newspaper for libel, and settles out of court

2004 Tour de France, Lance Armstrong stage win
2004 Tour de France, Lance Armstrong stage win

AGE 33
• Hints at running for governor of Texas. Rides mountain bikes with President Bush
• Begins dating Sheryl Crow
• Sued by former employee Mike Anderson following termination in November 2004, who alleges that he found androstenedione in Armstrong’s bathroom. The two settle out of court in 2005
• Wins seventh Tour, 4:40 up on Ivan Basso
• July 12: Takes back yellow atop Corchevel on stage 10, finishing behind stage winner Alejandro Valverde
• July 23: Wins his only stage of this Tour in a time trial to solidify his lead over Basso
• August 16, 2005: “The biggest problem with politics… is that it would mimic exactly what I’ve done — a ton of stress and a ton of time away from my kids.” — on his decision not to go into politics
• August 23, 2005: L’Equipe publishes “The Armstrong Lie,” connecting him to six numerically-labeled urine samples taken at 1999 Tour that the newspaper claims tested positive for EPO
• Retires from professional cycling

AGE 34
• Engaged to Crow, then separates
• UCI-appointed Dutch lawyer Emile Vrijman conducts independent investigation into the handling of 1999 Tour urine samples by French national lab LNDD. Vrijman’s report clears Armstrong because of improper handling and testing
• Italian cyclist Filippo Simeoni sues Armstrong for libel
Le Monde publishes claims by Frankie and Betsy Andreu that Armstrong admitted to using performance-enhancing drugs in 1996 after brain surgery
Los Angeles Times publishes testimonies from an arbitration case with insurance company SCA. The case clears Armstrong of alleged doping during the Tour and awards him $2.5 million

AGE 35
• Makes $5 million donation to Lance Armstrong Foundation to mark its 10th anniversary
• Launches LiveStrong Collection with Nike to benefit LAF
• Runs his first New York City Marathon, in 2:59:36

AGE 36
• Finishes second to Dave Wiens at Leadville 100
• Wins three-man category of 12 Hours of Snowmass
• Dates Tory Burch, Kate Hudson
• Announces planned return to professional cycling

AGE 37
• Unveils LiveStrong Global Cancer Initiative
• Wins Tour de Gruene