Remembering Lance's First Comeback

As Lance Armstrong prepares to return to the Tour De France on Saturday, this month's Outside magazine is marking the 10th anniversary of Lance Armstrong's first victory in the race with a lengthy oral history. After the seven victories and millions of yellow bracelets, Armstrong has become a cultural icon. Back in 1999, he was a little-known racer trying to beat cancer. Armstrong's team director recalls, "What I saw from Lance on a few of our training rides impressed me so much, because I know how fast it goes in the mountains. I remember saying to the mechanic in the car, Julien, "If that's the way he's going to ride in July, then we've got the winner of the Tour." What was his reaction to accusations of drug use? One cycling journalist remembers, "He'd seen death in the face and he wasn't going back. And that's always his response when I ask him if he's taking drugs. "I've been on my deathbed, and I'm not going back there. The answer is no, and they can call that what they like."