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Lance: The Making of the Worlds Greatest Champion Hardcover – June 29, 2009
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From Publishers Weekly
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
“[A] detailed…biography of one of the world’s most inspiring athletes…Wilcockson is at his best describing this tortuous 2,200-mile event, which tests athletes to the breaking point, and he ably captures the world of European cycling—the techniques, personalities and overwhelming passion.”
“Cycling fans will enjoy the summaries of Armstrong’s racing triumphs, and there are lots of fascinating insider anecdotes to flesh out the story line. This subject-friendly biography of one of the world’s most famous sports luminaries is sure to get lots of media hype and be in considerable demand.”
“This book offers stories and insights that will make it a popular choice for those who follow Armstrong and/or his sport.”
“Wilcockson has tracked down an array of impressive sources…Armstrong has led an extraordinary life so far...”
The Independent (UK), 7/19/09
“[A] fascinating, very well put-together portrait full of insights into its subject's personality…The adult dramas – the rise to cycling prominence and his domination of the Tour, the cancer and the setting up of his cancer foundation, his marriage, fatherhood, divorce, and his relationship with Sheryl Crow – are better known, but in Wilcockson's hands they remain rich in the re-telling, and much is added to our understanding of a tumultuous life.”
The Guardian (UK), 7/19/09
“[S]ceptics might be less surprised to witness Armstrong's renaissance if they had read John Wilcockson's new biography.”
The Texas Observer, 7/10/09
“Wilcockson is able to offer the inside dope (pun intended) on the champ’s training techniques, his rise through the ranks and his triumph over family strife and cancer to emerge as one of the planet’s best-known athletes…Wilcockson certainly knows the business of bike racing, and he delivers a fine primer.”
The Daily Beast
“Lance is a compelling story of survival and, above all else, endurance.”
The New York Times, 7/23/09
“Another Armstrong book?...Is there anything left to say or explain? Yes there is and Wilcockson says it and explains it meticulously, even controversially…Confident, confrontational, motivated by anger and a fear of failure — these well-known Armstrong traits are explored at length by Wilcockson in a series of interviews with figures in the rider’s past, including his adopted father, his early mentor, relatives and boyhood friends and the doctor who first diagnosed the testicular cancer that had spread to the rider’s brain, lungs and stomach. Lance lets them all speak as Wilcockson blends their stories into a skillful portrait to detail the book’s subtitle, The Making of the World’s Greatest Champion.”
The New York Times, 7/23/09
“Another Armstrong book?...Is there anything left to say or explain? Yes there is and Wilcockson says it and explains it meticulously, even controversially…Lance lets them all speak as Wilcockson blends their stories into a skillful portrait.”
San Antonio Express News, 7/27/09
“If you're an Armstrong follower, a cyclist or a fan of sports nonfiction, Lance won't disappoint.”
Bike World News, 9/1
“[F]or fans of Armstrong who are looking for a comprehensive look at his life, this book would fit the bill.”
Buffalo News, 9/6
“[Wilcockson] offers a unique biography of Armstrong that intertwines the personal with the professional.”
More About the Author
Top Customer Reviews
If you want truth, try "Rough Ride" by Paul Kimmage, "The Dirtiest Race in History" by Richard Moore, or "The Secret Race" by Hamilton and Coyle. Better yet, go to the USADA website and download the reasoned decision.
Leave this fanboy drivel on the shelf unless you read it as a cautionary tale.
To get the biggest complaint out of the way: I'm not sure the book is completely objective. I think the author makes an effort to represent the doping suspicions fairly, but I also think the same author is a big Lance fan. Just like I am. So if you expect a fully objective investigative report, this is not it.
Everything else about the book is absolutely awesome. The writing is clear, crisp, and well-organized, well-researched. There are many, many original interviews and first-hand / primary source telling of stories. The book's author, John Wilcockson, is a familiar figure. If you follow the Tour, even just on TV (as I do), you will know his voice and presence. His knowledge of the industry is very high, and his connections enabled a lot of the first-hand interviews that make up this book.
The book covers Lance's youth, including his formative teenage years. His initial racing success, his battle with cancer, his return. His training regimen with a lot of details, and his big race success, especially in the Tour. It's all there. In glorious detail, if you're a tech geek like me.
Note: I'm not actually a bicycle rider. I can ride, obviously, but I don't enjoy it much. I get bored. I have a lot of respect for people who are real riders, like my friends and colleague Jeremy. But I am not a rider myself and I know next to nothing about what it takes to be one.
Lance's return from cancer is obviously inspiring to a lot of people. But reading how close he was to death, and how hard he's been working to get back in shape and stay there, makes it all the more inspiring.
(Also posted on my blog.)
"Lance: The Making of the World's Greatest Champion" (411 pages, including 16 pages of full-color pictures) brings a straight-forward chronological portrait of Lance Armstrong, from his early days in Dallas, to his eventually move to Austin, where Lance laid the foundation of his professional cycling career. But the book really takes off (and at the same time fails to deliver) when Lance gets testicular cancer, which almost killed him. Retells one of the doctors: "We found mostly embryonal cells, and those at that time were not curable. So I spoke with [a colleague doctor] and we were saying, this is what we got and what should I tell him? And he said 'Well, tell him 20 percent.' I said 'Okay' but in my view the chances were zero, or almost zero." The entire cancer episode is dealt with in a mere 16 pages in the book, and it just seems too quick and too rushed. The next 24 months in Lance's life are an incredible up-and-down, again dealt with hurriedly, although noting that "It was Lance's good fortune to skip the '98 Tour since that was the one devastated by doping scandals". There is very little revealing about Lance's personal life, including his stll-mysterious divorce from wife Kristin, and the equally baffling and sudden end to his relationship with Sheryl Crow.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This book is now irrelevant. Armstrong was doped up during all 7 of his TDF wins, and he admits it. Can't blame Wilcockson too much for being sucked into the myth though, millions... Read morePublished 4 months ago by Mr. Einstein
This is a big disappointment.
I thought it was going to be a training manual on doping techniques and deception.
Wilcockson did a great job and reading it after Lance having "come clean" just makes it better. Read morePublished on February 13, 2013 by Richard Cutshall Jr.
Decent research and access to the wonder boy. However there appears to be a loss of objectivity as the subject has now come partially clean with what was obvious to everyone. Read morePublished on January 19, 2013 by tatafamily
Although it seems that another chapter is needed due to the recent legal issues this is still an interesting story about lance and the tour. Very interesting readPublished on November 10, 2012 by Christine Tappe
This is a phenomenol and complete look at Lance. Everything is dealt with, from his family, drive, personal issues, personality, physique, training, drugs, teams, and cancer. Read morePublished on March 12, 2012 by Greg Fuqua
I'm not actually a Lance Armstrong fan, but I bought the book to learn more about professional cycling. I really enjoyed this book! Great insight!Published on March 3, 2011 by Sharon Jones
I loved the details about what makes Lance tick. The details about the racing were not so interesting but that is because I'm not into the sport. Read morePublished on June 23, 2010 by Robert Kirk