On October, 2, 1996, it was discovered that Lance had advanced testicular cancer that had spread to his brain and lungs. The cancer was spreading rapidly and Lance went to emergency surgery to remove the tumors.
The doctors got the cancer just in time to save Lance’s life. After aggressive chemotherapy, all the cancer was killed.
After months of recuperation, it was apparent that Lance would not only survive, but be able to function as a physically-active person. After contemplating what kind of life he should lead, he decided that a return to racing would signify that he had beat the cancer.
Upon returning to peloton, Lance searched for another goal. Through consultations with friends, coaches and other athletes, he decided that a return to the Tour de France would be his next goal.
Before the cancer, Lance was a powerful rider who had a build more similar to an American football player than a bicycle racer.
After the cancer, however, his body dropped most of its muscle mass. Through training, Armstrong further streamlined his body and rebuilt himself into a Tour de France contender. His weight after the rebuild was 15 pounds (7 kg) less than his racing weight prior to the cancer.
The muscles in Lance’s upper body didn’t get rebuilt to the same level as before. This allowed Lance to ride the high mountains with the climbing specialists. Lance was always a good time-trialer, but after the rebuilding, he was even better.
On top of that, he had already suffered more physical pain than most people could ever dream of. In short, he was now prepared to win the Tour de France.