U.S. sports fans are well acquainted with Armstrong, but they probably underestimate the global impact of his winning cycling's premier event a record seven consecutive times. It was, simply put, the most momentous sports milestone of the last decade. His final victory dripped with drama as Armstrong, at the ripe age of 33, defeated rivals Ivan Bass and Jan Ullrich. The most serious allegations that he used performance-enhancing drugs would come later, and he would make an unsuccessful attempt to win the Tour again in 2009 (he finished third), but that only slightly diminishes the magnitude of his achievement.
Text: George Dohrmann/SI.com
Photo: Simon Bruty/SI; Pierre Andrieu, Joel Saget/AFP/Getty Images; Franck Faugere/DPPI/Icon SMI