“I will commit myself to the work I began before ever winning a single Tour de France title: serving people and families affected by cancer, especially those in underserved communities. This October, my Foundation will celebrate 15 years of service to cancer survivors and the milestone of raising nearly $500 million. We have a lot of work to do and I’m looking forward to an end to this pointless distraction. I have a responsibility to all those who have stepped forward to devote their time and energy to the cancer cause. I will not stop fighting for that mission. Going forward, I am going to devote myself to raising my five beautiful (and energetic) kids, fighting cancer, and attempting to be the fittest 40-year old on the planet.” – Lance Armstrong, 7x Tour de France Champion
Before “cycling became the new golf,” you first should know that I grew up being made fun of for being a cyclist well before Armstrong was a household name. I shaved my legs, wore spandex, and knew more about carbon fiber than everyone but a NASA scientist in the year 2000. Armstrong made it all look as sheek to you as it was to me. In my 2003 senior yearbook, I was “Most likely to become Lance Armstrong’s next teammate.” I stayed up until 3AM waiting for those 20 minute recaps on ESPN because no other cable news station aired the Tour de France, the race that few Americans would even know about were it not for Armstrong.
I have spent a great deal of time photographing this inspiring athlete on and off the bike, from covering his Comeback 2.0 at the 2009 Amgen Tour of California, to photographing for Livestrong directly in the fight against cancer, and feel as though this isn’t justice at all. Even if he were a doper, this case wasn’t handled right, I wouldn’t want any of my friends to be treated this way, and ultimately, it hurts the fight against cancer more than anything else. As my friend John put it, “They can strip the 7 wins away from him but they can’t strip him of his truer life’s work. One is a bike race, one is a life saver. Which one would you want to be remembered for?”
Here’s to the continued fight against cancer. Livestrong.