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Taking place over twenty-three days in July and across more than 2,100 miles of smooth blacktop, rough cobblestones, and punishing mountain terrain, the Tour de France is the most grueling sports event in the world. And in 2004, five-time champion Lance Armstrong set out to achieve what other cyclist in the 100-year history of the race had ever done: win a sixth Tour de France.Armstrong had four serious challengers who wanted thing more than to deny the man the French call Le Boss from achieving his goal. The major threat among them was the only other former Tour de France champion in last year's race, Germany's Jan Ullrich- The Kaiser . But when the race was over, Lance Armstrong once again wore the yellow jersey of victory.
John Wilcockson reported on his first Tour de France in 1968. He has written for Outside and Men's Journal and reported on major cycling events for NPR, the BBC World Service, and the New York Times. His many books include John Wilcockson's World of Cycling. He lives in Boulder, Colorado.Graham Watson has been covering the Tour de France since 1977. He lives near London.