After recovering from testicular cancer, Lance Armstrong wins a record-setting seven consecutive Tour de France titles from 1999-2005, and announces his retirement from professional cycling following his last race. “I’m ready to move on,” he said. “I know in my heart of hearts that it is absolutely the right decision.”
A month later, in August 2005, the French paper L’Equipe reports that six of Armstrong’s urine samples from 1999 came back positive for the endurance-boosting hormone EPO when retested in 2004, prompting an investigation by France’s World Anti-Doping Agency. “Absolutely not. Never, not once,” he says in a 2006 interview with NBC’s Ann Curry after being asked if he had ever doped – and the International Cycling Union agrees, exonerating him completely. Three years later, Armstrong returns to the Tour de France, placing third.
After admitting his own usage of performance-enhancing drugs and receiving a two-year ban from the sport, Armstrong’s teammate Floyd Landis alleges in May 2010 that the champion also doped and encouraged the practice among his teammates, leading to a criminal investigation by the U.S. Justice Department. Though Armstrong was again cleared of any wrong-doing, the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency brings formal charges against him in June 2012, which the cyclist deems “baseless” and “motivated by spite.”
“There comes a point in every man’s life when he has to say, ‘Enough is enough.’ For me, that time is now,” Armstrong says in an August 2012 statement, confirming he will no longer fight the USADA’s investigation, and as a result, will be banned from competing for life and stripped of all of his wins since Aug. 1, 1998. “I know who won those seven Tours Nobody can ever change that. Especially [USADA chief executive officer] Travis Tygart.”
Three months after being officially stripped of his seven Tour de France titles, Armstrong admits to doping in a two-part interview with that premieres Jan. 17. “I would say he didn’t come clean in the manner I expected,” the former talk show host tells CBS, adding that she found him, “truthful, serious [and he] certainly had prepared himself for this moment.”