While oft-repeated accusations of drug use have prompted Lance Armstrong to dub himself the most tested man in the world, there’s no doubt the cyclist’s comeback is one for the ages. Diagnosed with testicular cancer in 1996, Armstrong was given less than a 50% chance of survival. Not only did he make it through but he got back on his bike, picked up his cycling career and proceeded to win seven Tour de France titles in a row from 1999 to 2005.
Armstrong went on to became a worldwide ambassador in the continuing fight against cancer (notably establishing the Lance Armstrong Foundation) but his desire to raise awareness of the illness (as well as the undoubted allure of the bike) meant that in 2008 he announced his return to pro cycling and his intention to enter the 2009 Tour de France. Armstrong finished a highly creditable third; with drug rumors silent, this year’s race was most notable for Armstrong’s spat with teammate (and eventual winner) Alberto Contador.