#178 - Lance Armstrong: The rise, fall, and growth of a cycling legend

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By Peter Attia, MD, Peter Attia, and MD. Discovered by Player FM and our community — copyright is owned by the publisher, not Player FM, and audio is streamed directly from their servers. Hit the Subscribe button to track updates in Player FM, or paste the feed URL into other podcast apps.

Lance Armstrong is a legendary figure in professional cycling having won seven consecutive Tour de France titles but also a controversial figure facing scrutiny for the use of performance enhancing drugs. In this episode, Lance takes us through his meteoric rise to one of the most famous athletes in the world and his equally accelerated fall from grace. Lance describes how he persevered through his brutal diagnosis of testicular cancer before rattling off a historic run of seven consecutive Tour de France titles all while facing tremendous scrutiny for his alleged use of performance enhancing drugs such as EPO and cortisone. Lance opens up about his decision to come clean about his use of performance enhancing drugs, the remorse for how he treated other people during that time in his life, and the personal growth that’s helped him emerge on the other end of that. Finally, Lance recounts some of favorite stories from his cycling career, reflects on his legacy, and explains how he stays fit at age 50. We discuss:

  • What everyone wants to know—yes and no questions [2:15];
  • Lance’s childhood and beginnings of a great athlete [4:15];
  • Lance’s realization that he had a knack for racing after his first pro race at age 15 [13:00];
  • The move to cycling full time and a desire to compete in the Olympics [16:30];
  • Metrics tracked early in Lance’s career and his time with Motorola team [20:00];
  • The grueling nature of the Tour de France and the beginnings of serious drug usage in cycling [27:00];
  • The impact of EPO on cycling performance [35:15];
  • Testicular cancer diagnosis—denial, torturous symptoms, and treatment [38:15]
  • Livestrong is born [50:45];
  • Return to cycling post-cancer and a crossroad in Lance’s career [53:45]
  • Lance’s rise to prominence in the late 90s and the growing use of EPO in the sport [1:00:00];
  • Racing in the early 2000’s, blood transfusions, and rivalry with Jan Ulrich [1:12:00];
  • Retirement in 2005 and a comeback in 2009 [1:22:45];
  • Lance’s decision to come clean and tell the truth [1:27:30];
  • Growth through downfall: learning from his mistakes and helping others after their own fall from grace [1:33:00];
  • Moving forward: Living his life, reflecting on his legacy, the state of Livestrong [1:42:30];
  • Turning back the clock: Advice Lance would give to his 15 year-old self [1:46:45];
  • Keeping fit at age 50 [1:51:00];
  • More.

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222 episodes