From Publishers Weekly
Strickland, an editor at large for Bicycling magazine, follows Armstrong after he decides to come out of retirement and compete, once again, in the 2009 Tour de France, cycling's preeminent race and a competition that Armstrong has won seven times. The book weaves between stages of the Tour and other races that led up to it, including the Tour of California and Spain's Vuelta Castilla y Leon, in March 2009, during which Armstrong broke his collarbone. Strickland, who admits that he saw in Armstrong an "innate greatness" early on, is occasionally fawning and overdramatic, but he had a great deal of access to Armstrong and his team, riding alongside and conducting compelling interviews with spectators and fans. Somewhat less engaging for a general readership are technical explanations of arcane cycling rules and comprehensive coverage of '30s-era cyclists. But cycling fans and readers who already follow Armstrong will find much to enjoy here as they relive his comeback and get a look into the anatomy of his races.
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*Starred Review* Cycling writer Strickland is all over the story of Lance Armstrong's return in 2009, after a three-year absence, to the Tour de France. The story is forceful on its own: the champion's grueling comeback leading to the great race, Armstrong's redefined role as a domestique to teammate and 2009 winner Alberto Contador, and the response of thousands at every racing venue to the cyclist's Livestrong campaign against cancer. But Strickland, who had access to Armstrong's inner circle, enhances it with an eye for detail and an understanding of its importance in the context of cycling's own physical demands and singular history. He reminds readers, as if they need it, of Armstrong's supremacy and laser dedication in the sport. But Armstrong, says Strickland, is different this time around: “So many times over so many years I had witnessed Armstrong bend the Tour de France to his will. Now for the first time I wondered if the race was, as it did with everyone else, bending him.” An irresistible account of a story that needed telling. --Alan Moores
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