Bike charities of Tour winners

Livestrong Challenge and Tour de Cure

Lance Armstrong and Greg LeMond may not exchange Christmas cards, but the legendary American Tour de France winners do have something in common besides wearing yellow in July:  they participate in nationwide charity rides for a cause.

Armstrong, of course, has his Livestrong Foundation to raise awareness and funding for cancer research. The Livestrong Challenge visits four cities in 2008:  Portland, Oregon (June 29), San Jose, California (July 13), Philidelphia, Pennsylvania (August 24) and Austin, Texas (October 25-26), Lance's hometown. Riders can choose from 10, 40, 70 or 100 miles. Each rider is asked to raise a minimum  of US$250.

"We are on a mission to make cancer a national priority while inspiring and empowering the nearly 12 million Americans living with cancer," Armstrong said. "We have raised more than US$250 million for the fight against cancer, but the war is still on and we need your help.

"We believe unity is strength, knowledge is power and attitude is everything. Cancer doesn’t discriminate and neither do we. Anyone anywhere can join the 60 million Livestrong wristband wearers and help make cancer a national priority," the seven-time Tour winner said.

LeMond is honorary chairman for Tour de Cure, a series of fundraising events held in 40 states benefiting the American Diabetes Association (ADA). In 2007, more than 32,000 riders in 78 Tour de Cure events raised US$13 million. Riders can form or join a team, or ride solo. Each individual is asked to raise a minimum of US$150.

According to ADA, diabetes is an alarming and growing epidemic in the USA. If present trends continue, one out of three Americans born in 2000 will develop this disease. In fact, diabetes is the fifth leading cause of death by disease in the United States with no cure. Sadly, most Americans aren't aware of how serious diabetes is and what this disease can do to their body.

"Even athletes like me can be at risk for developing type 2 diabetes, especially as we get older, become less active and gain some extra weight," LeMond said. "The good news is that lifestyle factors such as staying physically active and maintaining a healthy weight can make a big difference in:  1) Managing type 1 and type 2 diabetes in order to prevent serious complications such as heart disease and stroke; and 2) reducing a person's risk for developing type 2 diabetes the fastest growing type of diabetes in America.

"Maintaining a healthy weight and participating in regular physical activity such as riding your bike can go a long way in providing great health benefits," LeMond added.

For more information on the Livestrong Challenge, visit http://www.livestrongchallenge.org. For the Tour de Cure, visit http://tour.diabetes.org/.

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