Title Stripped

Lance Armstrong Timeline: Tour de France, Doping Allegations (PHOTOS)

The U.S. Anti-Doping Agency stripped Armstrong of his medals Friday. See a timeline of his ups and downs.

At the height of his career, Lance Armstrong was one of the greatest athletes in the world—and one of its greatest heroes. He defeated testicular cancer after being given less than 50 percent odds of beating it, only to emerge as a cycling powerhouse, winning a record seven Tour de France titles. But doping allegations that dogged his superman run finally reached a crushing breaking point on Aug. 24, when the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency stripped him of his medals and banned him from the sport for life, claiming to have definitive proof that he doped throughout his career. Here, a timeline of Armstrong’s many ups and downs.

Linda Armstrong Kelly, Sports Illustrated / Getty Images

THE BOY IN YELLOW

When Lance Armstrong received a new bike for his 8th birthday in Garland, Texas, it already came equipped with hints of yellow, the color for which he is now famous.

Stephen Dunn / Getty Images

TEEN SENSATION

At 17, Armstrong was already competing as a professional triathlete, and was ranked No. 1 in the world in the 19-and-under category.

Pascal Rondeau, Allsport / Getty Images

BONJOUR TOUR DE FRANCE

In 1993, Armstrong competed in his first Tour de France and won his first stage in the race. He finished the year as the world's No. 1 cyclist.

Linda Armstrong Kelly / Getty Images

A BRUSH WITH DEATH

On October 2, 1996, Armstrong was diagnosed with testicular cancer, which spread to his lungs and brain. After surgery, doctors gave Armstrong a less than 50 percent chance to live.

Joel Saget, AFP / Getty Images

REAR VIEW

Armstrong began his comeback in 1998 and returned to Tour de France competition in 1999. During the 13th stage of the race, local fans reminded the man in the maillot jaune (the leader's yellow jersey) of their town's name.

Patrick Kovarik, AFP / Getty Images

VICTORY NUMBER ONE

Armstrong took a victory lap on the Champs-Élysées in July 1999 on his way to becoming the second American to win the Tour de France.

Scott J. Applewhite / AP Photo

YELLOW JERSEY MEETS WHITE HOUSE

Returning from France following the 1999 Tour, Armstrong presented President Clinton with a lightweight racing bicycle.

Francois Mori / AP Photo

TEAM ARMSTRONG

After winning his second Tour de France in 2000, Armstrong celebrated with his wife, Kristin, and son, Luke.

Christophe Ena / AP Photo

THREEPEAT

Celebrating with spectators after winning his third consecutive Tour.

Peter Dejong / AP Photo

GOOOOD MORNING, CHAMPS-ELYSEES

Robin Williams, a longtime cycling fan, celebrated with Armstrong after the 12th stage of the Tour in 2003.

Bernard Papon / AP Photo

DOWN BUT NOT OUT

During the 15th stage of the Tour in 2003, Armstrong (in the yellow jersey) crashed on the final ascent in the French Pyrenees, as Jan Ullrich rode past. Armstrong won the stage and Ullrich finished in third place.

Christophe Ena / AP Photo

LEADER OF THE PACK

Always a strong mountain rider, Armstrong broke away from the peleton between Anemasse and Lons-le-Saunier in 2004, on his way to winning his record-breaking sixth Tour.

Peter Dejong / AP Photo

SEVENTH HEAVEN

After winning his seventh consecutive Tour de France, Armstrong holds up his winner's trophy as his son, Luke, and twin daughters Grace, right, and Isabelle, look on.

Paul Morse, The White House / AP Photo

TOUR DE CRAWFORD

Fellow Texan Armstrong went mountain biking with President George W. Bush on his ranch in Crawford in 2005.

CNN's "Larry King Live" / AP Photo

NO DOPE

Though dogged by rumors of using performance-enhancing drugs throughout his career, Armstrong has always vigorously denied any allegations, as he did on Larry King following his seventh Tour de France victory.

Pacific Coast News / Newscom

A-LIST CYCLIST

In 2006, having retired from professional cycling, Armstrong went for a ride along the coast in Malibu with friends Jake Gyllenhaal and Matthew McConaughey.

Michael Dwyer / AP Photo

MARATHON MAN

In 2006, Armstrong ran his first New York City Marathon. Despite not being properly trained, he finished in just under 3 hours. "For the level of condition that I have now, that was without a doubt the hardest physical thing I have ever done," he said afterward. Two years later, Armstrong completed the Boston Marathon in 2:50:58.

AP Photos (2); Newscom

TRIPLE VISION

After divorcing his wife, Kristin, Armstrong had a series of high-profile relationships with singer Sheryl Crow, designer Tory Burch, and actress Kate Hudson.

Denis Poroy / AP Photo

BACK IN THE SADDLE

In September 2008, Armstrong announced he was ending his retirement with the goal of winning the 2009 Tour de France. Here, he tests a bicycle in a low-speed wind tunnel.

Rafa Gomez, Cyclismo A Fondo / AP Photo

ROAD WARRIOR

In an early comeback race in Spain, Armstrong crashed in the first stage and fractured his collarbone.

Marco Trovati / AP Photo

LOOK OUT

Lance Armstrong leading the Astana team during the first stage of the Giro d'Italia, Tour of Italy, in May 2009. During the race, Armstrong also led riders in a protest of unsafe racing conditions.

Fame Pictures

A NEW FAN IS BORN

On June 5, a month before beginning the 2009 Tour de France, Armstrong and his girlfriend Anna Hansen welcomed a son, Max.

Koen Haedens / Getty Images

Seven-times winner Lance Armstrong of USA and team Astana in action during the first time trail of the 2009 Tour de France on July 4, 2009 in Monaco.

Jasper Juinen / Getty Images

Lance Armstrong of USA and team Astana looks on during a training session on the first rest day of the 2009 Tour de France on July 13, 2009 in Limoges, France.

Jasper Juinen / Getty Images

Lance Armstrong (R) of USA and team Astana rides during stage 14 of the 2009 Tour de France from Colmar to Besancon on July 18, 2009 in Besancon, France.

Jasper Juinen / Getty Images

RUNNER-UP

Armstrong is named the second-best Athlete of the Decade in a poll by members of the Associated Press, announced on Dec. 17, 2009. With 33 of the 142 votes cast, he finishes behind golfer Tiger Woods, who secures 56 votes. Tennis star Roger Federer finishes third and Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps fourth.

Francois Lenoir, AFP / Getty Images

DASHED DREAMS

After a disastrous showing in the eighth stage of the 2010 Tour de France on July 12, 2010, Armstrong faces the hard truth: he doesn’t have a shot at winning an eighth title. He finishes in 61st place at the end of the stage, citing problems with his left hip. “Obviously, the Tour’s finished for me,” he says.

BETRAYED

After years of denying allegations, 2006 Tour de France winner Floyd Landis admits to doping in 2010 and was stripped of his medal. On May 20, 2010, he tries to bring Armstrong down with him when an email he wrote to cycling officials leaks to the media. In the email, he says Armstrong’s longtime coach Johan Bruyneel introduced him to performance-enhancing drugs and that Armstrong helped him to understand how they worked. “Even a superficial review reveals a troubling, angry and misplaced effort at retribution by Landis for his perceived slights,” Armstrong responds through a statement on his website.

Bas Czerwinski / AP Photo

INVESTIGATION HEATS UP

Federal prosecutors investigating doping charges against Armstrong subpoena documents on July 27, 2010, from an arbitration case that sought to prove Armstrong used performance-enhancing drugs throughout his career. Those documents contain the depositions from several of Armstrong’s former teammates, given when a promotions company was trying to prove that he was doping. While doping is not illegal, federal prosecutors are making the case that, if he was using performance-enhancing drugs, Armstrong defrauded investors by accepting sponsorship dollars under the understanding that he wasn’t doping.

Jamie Squire / Getty Images

END OF AN ERA

After seven Tour de France victories, a bronze medal in the Olympics, multiple doping controversies, and a brief retirement, Armstrong confirms on Feb. 16, 2011, that he is retiring from cycling for good. He previously left the sport in 2005, but returned in 2009 for another go at the Tour de France. In his final career race in Australia in January 2011, he finishes in 67th place. 

Arnulfo Franco / AP Photo

IRONMAN

After retiring from cycling, Armstrong turns his attention to triathlons, competing in his first Ironman competition on Feb. 13, 2012. He turns in an impressive performance, finishing second behind New Zealand’s Bevan Docherty, who passes Armstrong at the end of the 21-km run to clinch his victory. Docherty bests Armstrong by just 42 seconds.

AP Photo

MORE ACCUSATIONS

In an interview with 60 Minutes on May 22, 2011, another of Armstrong’s former teammates, Tyler Hamilton, accuses the cyclist of doping. Hamilton claims that Armstrong, as well as other U.S. Postal team leaders, encouraged, promoted, and took part in a doping program. In response, Armstrong’s lawyer demands an apology from the news program for insinuating that he doped: “In the cold light of morning, your story was either extraordinarily shoddy, to the point of being reckless and unprofessional, or a vicious hit-and-run job. In either case, a categorical on-air apology is required.”

Gail Oskin / Getty Images

CLEARED

Federal prosecutors announce they are dropping their investigation into whether Armstrong committed any crimes—including defrauding the government, money laundering, or drug trafficking—by doping. Prosecutors do not say why they are dropping they investigation, just that the matter was closed.

Lionel Bonaventure, AFP / Getty Images

MORE TROUBLE

 New doping charges brought against Armstrong by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency could cost him his seven Tour de France titles. The new allegations, revealed in a letter to Armstrong on June 13, 2012, stem from blood samples collected from Armstrong in 2009-11 that were “fully consistent with blood manipulation including EPO use and/or blood transfusions.” As a result of the formal charges, Armstrong is immediately barred from competing in the Ironman triathlons.


Reed Saxon / AP Photo

DISMISSED

In response to new doping allegations from USADA, Armstrong files a suit to have the organization drop the charges and the end its investigation. A judge dismisses the suit on July 9, 2012. The USADA claims to have more than 10 former teammates prepared to testify that Armstrong used performance-enhancing drugs throughout his career.

Bryn Lennon / Getty Images

STRIPPED

The U.S. Anti-Doping Agency strips Armstrong of his seven Tour de France medals and issues a lifetime ban from the sport of cycling on Aug. 24, 2012, effectively erasing what was widely considered one of the greatest achievements ever in professional sports. Armstrong pledges not to address the USADA and the case against him any longer. “I know who won those seven tours, and everyone I competed against knows who won those seven tours,” he says. “Nobody can ever change that.”