ESPN's Robert Lipsyte said Armstrong was "the best athlete in the world. The best of all. Period."
On his way to the finals, Armstrong beat world decathlon champion Tom Pappas, and tennis star Roger Federer.
Lipsyte reveals in an essay about Armstrong that it was the Texan's first Tour victory in 1999 that made the sports writer buy a bike:
"I ran out and bought my first bicycle since childhood. Cycling became my basic work-out. On hills seemingly too steep for my bursting lungs and screaming thighs, I would yell, "Lance Armstrong! Lance Armstrong!" and invariably get to the top.