At 21, Lance became the youngest American ever to compete in the legendary Tour de France, cycling's greatest event. Three years later, in his third tour, he dropped out of the competition complaining of chest pains and breathing troubles.
Shortly after, Lance was diagnosed with testicular cancer. The news was grim. The advanced cancer had already spread: Lance's lungs were filled with tumors and there were lesions on his brain. Doctors didn't know if he would survive. Though they said his chances of survival were 40 to 50 percent, Lance later learned that his doctor said his case was among the very worst he'd ever seen.
But Lance was seriously determined to beat cancer. "I'm entering this battle in probably the best shape of my life," he said at the time. "As soon as my wounds heal from the surgery, I'm going be on a bike."
He had the cancerous testicle removed, brain surgery and months of harrowing experimental chemotherapy. Amazingly, within three months the cancer was in remission and Lance was training again.