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Armstrong Wins Number Six! - 2004-07-26

American cyclist Lance Armstrong has ridden into history by winning the Tour de France. Armstrong crossed the finish line Sunday in Paris for a record sixth time.

Armstrong's sixth title in six years elevates him above four great champions who won five\ times. His record-setting victory comes just eight years after the Texan was given less than a 50 percent chance of surviving a deadly form of testicular cancer that spread to his lungs and brain.

Armstrong says he began to appreciate the accomplishment while riding through Paris and the finish line.

To have done it six times, it is incredible. With the last laps (in Paris), I thought I wanted to get this over with. But then I thought I thought to myself I might want to do a few more laps because I may never do it again. And you can not take it for granted," he says.

Last year, Armstrong equaled the record of five wins co-held by Frenchmen Jacques Anquetil and Bernard Hinault, Eddy Merckx of Belgium and Spaniard Miguel Indurain.

Belgian rider Tom Boonen completed the 163-kilometer, 20th stage by winning the final sprint down the Champs-Elysees. Armstrong cruised safely behind with the trailing pack to claim his crown. The American's winning margin over second-placed German Andreas Kloden was 6 minutes and 19 seconds, with Italian Ivan Basso third, 6:40 back. Jan Ullrich of Germany was fourth, 8:50 behind Armstrong.

Australian Robbie McEwen captured his second green jersey for the points competition after having won it in 2002. Frenchman Richard Virenque won a record seventh polka dot jersey as the race's best climber.