Lance Armstrong, American, 1971 -
What can you say about Lance, that has not already been said? A fairytale cancer survivor and a demonic, obsessive, bully (why should the two be mutually exclusive?), a heroic inspiration to the sick and weak and a ruthlessly organised fraudster (why should the two be mutually exclusive?), the glamorous showbiz partner of Sheryl Crow and a man with a refrigerator full of squalid bags of processed blood (why should the two be mutually exclusive?), he either did or did not win the Tour de France for seven (yes, seven) consecutive years from 1999 to 2005. Maybe if he had been satisfied with five victories the woefully compliant cycling authorities (and press) would have let him away with it - but you can’t keep a good psychopath down.
This postcard, from before Lance was really, really, famous, records some tasty palmares. He may want to forget his 1993 victory in the ‘Thrift Drug Classic’ - and he may already have forgotten his victory in the same year in the classy sounding ‘West Virginia Kmart Classic’. It’s not often that you see the words ‘Kmart’ and ‘classic’ in such close proximity.
In derailleur terms, all Lance’s victories were ‘won’ using Shimano Dura-Ace - amazingly 1999 was the first time that a Shimano rider had ‘won’ the Tour. I have some particularly special Shimano pin badges celebrating the 2000 to 2005 ‘victories’ - a little something to treasure alongside your Edward VIII coronation mug and your vinyl recording of Andy Cameron serenading Ally’s Tartan Army.
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