Sports Letter: Armstrong's achievement

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The Independent Online
Sir: Patriotism aside, I am glad that Lance Armstrong has won the Tour de France. From sprint champion to facing life or death with cancer, he has triumphed by fighting back; not only regaining his health, but also winning one of the world's most gruelling races.

In my own way I can relate to this and feel pride in Lance's achievement. Having faced my own battle for life during a serious flare-up of Crohn's disease, I fought back and won my own minor victory, completing the Manchester to Blackpool cycle ride in 1997. In comparing the two, the Texan's triumph in Paris towers above that of an Englishman in a charity bike ride, but I find it impossible not to draw parallels.

Looking further afield, thousands of people face an everyday struggle against debilitating illnesses like cancer, Crohn's disease and others. Rather than sporting achievement, they strive to maintain as normal a life as possible. These underrated achievers don't make headlines or win medals, but can find inspiration in seeing a fellow "life struggler" like Lance Armstrong make good and achieve greatness.

JONATHAN CAHM

Heald Green, Cheshire

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