2009 comebacks: Lance Armstrong

The story of Lance Armstrong is widely known – world-class cyclist contracts cancer, battles back from death's doorstep to recover, then wins the premier cycling event in the world, the arduous Tour de France, a record seven times. Armstrong then retires to promote his LiveStrong campaign, raising money for cancer awareness and encouraging cancer survivors to embrace life to its fullest.

The personal side of Armstrong's life has not been quite so story book, however. After a divorce from his wife, Kristen, Armstrong was famously involved with singer Cheryl Crow for a time, and has since been seen in the company of other celebrities.

To the surprise of many, late in 2008 Armstrong announced that he intended to return, at the unheard-of age of 37, to professional cycling, including the difficult Giro d'Italia. His avowed intention is to "raise awareness of the global cancer burden."