"...I had learned what it means to ride the Tour De France. It's not about the bike. It's a metaphor for life, not only the longest race in the world but also the most exalting and heartbreaking and potentially tragic. It poses every conceivable element to the rider, and more cold, heat, mountains, plains, ruts, flat tires, high winds, unspeakably bad luck, unthinkable beauty, yawning senselessness, and above all, a great deep self-questioning. During our lives we're faced with so many different elements as well, we experience so many setbacks, and fight such a hand-to-hand battle with failure, head down in the rain, just trying to stay upright and to have a little hope. The Tour is not just a bike race, not at all. It is a test. It tests you physically, it tests you mentally, and it even tests you morally.

I understood that now. There were no shortcuts, I realized. It took years of racing to build up the mind and body and character, until a rider had logged hundred of races and thousands of miles of road. I wouldn't be able to win a Tour De France until I had enough iron in my legs, in my lungs, and brain, and heart. Until I was a man. Fabio had been a man. I was still trying to get there."

                                   - Lance Armstrong, It's not about the bike



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