'Lance Armstrong was one of a kind'

Published 1119 GMT (1919 HKT) March 26, 2015
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Seven-time Tour de France champion Lance Armstrong had denied numerous doping accusations, but in 2012 the International Cycling Union banned him from competition thanks to evidence of career-long drug use. LIONEL BONAVENTURE/AFP/Getty Images
Scott Mercier, pictured on the left, was a cyclist who refused to dope. That decision cost him his professional career. Jed Jacobson/Getty Images/file
Armstrong joined the U.S. Postal Service team in 1998, riding for it for six years. Mercier also signed in 1997 but chose to quit after refusing to dope. Getty Images
Mercier says Armstrong, pictured here in a 1998 charity race, was "the star and one of a kind." Jay G. Carraway/Getty Images
Mercier says he "didn't have any options" when he left the U.S. Postal cycling team after one season. Ed Oudenaarden/AFP/Getty Images
Armstrong went on to win seven Tour de France races, though he was subsequently stripped of the titles. Lionel Bonaventure/AFP/Getty Images
Despite the different trajectories their respective careers took, Mercier has become a close friend of Armstrong, describing them as "Lance and the anti-Lance." Tom Pennington/Getty Images
Mercier and Armstrong go on long rides together near their homes in Colorado, discussing memories of the sport and where it should head in future. Getty Images
Mercier is now a financial adviser, and Armstrong said he did not follow his compatriot's anti-doping path because "there was no field waiting for Scott Mercier, no factory: Wall Street was waiting." AFP/Getty Images
Armstrong waves during a parade in his honor in 1999. Paul Buck/AFP/Getty Images
Armstrong is immortalized in a graffiti "doping" artwork in Los Angeles in 2013. Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images