Lance Armstrong stripped of his Tour de France titles

Another hero bites the dust.

With Lance Armstrong, however, everything is much more complicated, because he is so much more than just a great athlete. His devotion to the fight against cancer makes him an iconic figure, and many of his fans will continue to support him. Nike and other brand sponsors are sticking by him.

Armstrong was known for being a fighter, but he gave up here as he was facing ten former teammates who were prepared to testify against him. He release a statement attacking the USADA, and he may have some points about the “vendetta” against him. But in the end, his unwillingness to face his accusers speaks volumes.

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2010 Tour de France: Armstrong misses out on sprint win

July 19, 2010 - Bagnieres-De-Luchon, FRANCE - epa02253649 Radioshack team rider Lance Armstrong of the US cycles to the finish of the 15th stage of the 97th Tour de France 2010 cycling race between Pamiers and Bagneres-De-Luchon, France, 19 July 2010.

Per Bloomberg BusinessWeek:

Lance Armstrong missed out on a Tour de France stage win today after being outsprinted at the end of the three-week race’s toughest day, which included four Pyrenean mountain climbs.

The seven-time champion finished sixth of eight riders in the dash to the finish in Pau, after helping drive the pace of the breakaway group for about five hours. Pierrick Fedrigo won the stage, the 16th of 20, while Alberto Contador kept an eight- second lead in the overall standings.

“It was full gas all day,” Armstrong, who hasn’t taken a stage this year, told reporters. “I’m not the best guy in the race but I still have the spirit of a fighter.”

Defending champ Alberto Contador continues to lead the race by eight seconds.

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Lance Armstrong says his Tour de France is “finished”

Radioshack rider Lance Armstrong (L) of the U.S cycles with team-mates during a training session during a rest day of the Tour de France cycling race in Morzine July 12, 2010. REUTERS/Eric Gaillard (France - Tags: SPORT CYCLING)

An unlucky Stage 8 led to a resigned quote from Lance Armstrong:

Close the book on the Lance Armstrong era at the Tour de France. He has.

The record seven-time champion wrote off his chances of victory in his 13th and last Tour, signaling the beginning of the end of one of the most celebrated and controversial careers in cycling history.

The 38-year-old Texan’s hopes for yet another title were dashed Sunday after he got caught in three crashes — one of which brought him down — and struggled to keep up during two tough climbs in Stage 8, the race’s first foray into the Alps. He and his team said his hip got banged up, keeping him from pedaling hard.

“My Tour is finished,” said Armstrong, who fell to 39th overall.

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