The six-time winner of cycling's grueling Tour de France discusses the hills and valleys of a remarkable life (and he's only 33): his fatherless childhood in small-town Texas; his life B.C.—before cancer—and after; his spartan training protocol ("Eat, sleep, ride"); his recent painful divorce and klieg-lit relationship with rock star Sheryl Crow; the phenomenon of his foundation's "Live Strong" bracelets...and why, despite his upcoming retirement, "I have to win at all costs."
Lance Armstrong rides again—this time, aiming for his seventh victory in the Tour de France, which begins on July 2. In his 33 years, the cycling legend from Plano, Texas, has pedaled his way through very rocky terrain: a 1996 diagnosis of testicular cancer that spread to his lungs and brain; a divorce a year and a half ago from Kristin Armstrong, his wife of five years and the mother of his three children; and the relentlessly cruel gossip about his relationship with singer Sheryl Crow (people accused him of leaving his wife for a rock star, but he and Kristin had already publicly split).
Win or lose, Lance says, race number seven is a wrap—the end of a magnificent athletic career and the beginning of more time to play, spend afternoons with his children, and raise money and awareness for the battle against cancer. His charity, the Lance Armstrong Foundation, has already raised roughly $45 million through sales of its yellow "Live Strong" wristbands. Long after he retires from sports, he says, he'll be remembered as a survivor. Start reading Oprah's interview with Lance Armstrong Note: This interview appeared in the May 2004 issue of
O, The Oprah Magazine.