Having been diagnosed with advanced pancreatic cancer, two-time Tour de France winner Laurent Fignon faces his toughest test yet - overcoming his illness. The Frenchman is adopting his famous philosophic approach to the hurdle, saying that he has no fear of dying.
"You either fight or you die," Fignon told Journal du Dimanche. "I have no desire to die, but I'm not afraid. I'm not particularly brave nor fearful," he explained. He has begun chemotherapy to treat the illness and will learn more through further testing following the Tour next month.
Fignon's forthcoming book, We were young and carefree, documents his career and explains the mentality towards taking performance-enhancing drugs, which he believes could be attributed in part to his life-threatening illness.
"I have no desire to die, but I'm not afraid..."
"I don't know whether or not that played a role," said Fignon recently on French television program 7 a 8. "I don't know at all. It's impossible to say, yes or no. According to the doctors, apparently not." The 48-year-old added, "My cancer has already spread. I don't know how long I have left,"
The 1983 and '84 Tour champion twice tested positive for using illegal susbstances in the late 1980s and his book openly discusses the culture of professional cycling at the time. "In those days everyone was doing it," he explains within its pages. "But it is impossible to know to what extent doping harms you.
"Whether those who lived through 1998, when a lot of extreme things happened, will get cancer after 10 or 20 years, I really can't say."