Lance Armstrong wins Tour de France
The 1999 Tour de France was the 86th Tour de France, taking place from July 3 to July 25, 1999.
It was won by Lance Armstrong, his first of 7 consecutive wins, the most in Tour history. There were no French stage winners for the first time since 1926.
The 1999 edition of Tour de France had two bizarre moments. The first was on stage 2 when a 25 rider pile-up occurred at Passage du Gois. Passage du Gois is a two mile causeway which depending on the tide can be under water. The second bizarre incident was on stage 10, one kilometre from the summit of L'Alpe d'Huez. Leading Italian rider Giuseppe Guerini was confronted by a spectator holding a camera in the middle of the road. Guerini hit the spectator but recovered and went on to win the stage.
American Lance Armstrong wins Tour de France
In one of the biggest comeback stories in sports, cancer survivor Lance Armstrong won the Tour de France Sunday. Armstrong, who started his victory ride three weeks ago by winning the prologue, became the first American since Greg LeMond in 1990 to win the Tour. The 27-year-old Texan withstood the mountain stages, drug accusations and the burden of the yellow jersey to reach Paris.
When Lance Armstrong claimed his first yellow jersey on 3 July 1999 he gave millions of people hope. At the age of 27 the all-American champion proved there was life after cancer. He had ridden the Tour de France before, won stages in fact, but victory in his first appearance since he was struck down by the illness was a triumph of spirit. But surely his time in the overall lead of the world’s biggest bike race wouldn’t last much longer than the first week. Aficionados of the event knew his name and they recognized his weaknesses.
Before cancer, the Texan couldn’t climb and his ability in the time trial was reasonable at best. Tactically he’d made more than one faux-pas. He was a star but not a rider capable of holding onto the ‘maillot jaune’.
Lance proved that the cynics were wrong. And he has continued to do so every year.