Lance's legacies

On July 24, as Lance Armstrong rolls across the Champs Elysées one final time as a professional...

On July 24, as Lance Armstrong rolls across the Champs Elysées one final time as a professional cyclist, the 33 year-old American will leave a number of legacies behind him, and will no doubt continue to pursue new ones.

Back home in the States, effects of his popularity have undoubtedly made a significant impact on the number of cyclists taking up the sport, or launching themselves into road racing. USA Cycling reports the number of registered road racers has increased from 28,300 in 1999 - Armstrong's first Tour win - to 31,300 in 2005.

"Greg LeMond opened the door for American cyclists in Europe in the '80s," said USA Cycling spokesperson Andy Lee to Reuters. "Since LeMond opened that door, Lance has blown it off its hinges and everyone else is going through now."

Likewise, Armstrong's legacy for cancer patients will continue to be felt long after his retirement, with the foundation he set up in 1997 (the Lance Armstrong Foundation or LAF) likely to gain even greater momentum after he hangs up the race wheels, as he will have more time to devote to his cancer-related projects. The yellow Livestrong wristbands, intended to raise $6,000,000 for the Lance Armstrong Foundation in 2004, have exceeded initial expectations ten-fold, with more than 50 million sold to date.

Said Harmon Eyre, chief medical officer at the American Cancer Society: "Lance has become a national, and an international, rallying point around survivorship.

"He has even begun to impact the U.S. government. He has the government looking at survivorship. When a cancer patient sees someone like Lance Armstrong, I personally believe it sends a real signal of hope to the cancer patient and tends to diminish the fear... that the cancer might come back."

Back to top