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Tour de Lance: The Extraordinary Story of Lance Armstrong's Fight to Reclaim the Tour de France Hardcover – June 15, 2010

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Editorial Reviews

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.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

*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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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Crown (June 15, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0307589846
  • ISBN-13: 978-0307589842
  • Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 1.2 x 9.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,129,163 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

I'm not the famous and nice philanthropist Bill Strickland who helps people lead better lives. I'm just a guy who writes about life, mostly about bikes and life, as it turns out. Besides the books you can find here, I've published stories in Bicycling, Mountain Bike, Men's Health, Men's Journal, Parenting, Parents, Backpacker, Rouleur, Embrocation Cycling Journal, The Indianapolis Star, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times Book Review and other magazines and newspapers, and I've commented on cycling, memoirs and other topics for Good Morning America, The Early Show, CBS Sports, ESPN, NPR and other networks. I got to work with Phil Liggett a few times providing narration for race videos. I race road and cyclocross, just a little bit and not very well. I'm the editor-at-large of Bicycling, the biggest cycling mag in the world. And I am an amateur and barely competent goatherd.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By E-Cowboy VINE VOICE on August 26, 2010
Format: Hardcover
One of the things that I love about professional cycling is the many layers that are at play over the course of a Grand Tour. Perhaps if you're a hardcore cycling fan - you know the summiting record for Alpe d'Huez or can name the Lanterne Rouge from the past three Tour de Frances - Strickland's book might fall short in terms of ultimate insider information. However, as a cycling enthusiast, I wasn't disappointed in the details and Tour insights, strategies, and tactics that Strickland wrote about in "Tour de Lance".

This book is an interesting look at the evolution of Lance Armstrong, how he started in professional cycling and changed (matured?) over the course of his career. It's an insightful revelation about how his celebrity status in recent years has impacted him and ultimately what drove him to hop back on the saddle.

There were a few times throughout the book when Strickland got away from Armstrong and instead focused on the people who have become cycling fans because of him. While it was interesting to read about the impact that Lance has had on the sport, in those sections, I felt like Strickland's writing was a little over-the-top and could've been more concise.

All in all though, "Tour de Lance" is an interesting book on the sport of cycling and the worldwide celebrity that Lance Armstrong has become.
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15 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Ezra on June 28, 2010
Format: Hardcover
Lance Armstrong is a polarizing figure, and authors of books about him capitalize on this by aiming to either take him down (see Walsh, David) or kiss his behind (see Wilcockson, John). This book is a rare exception (as is the excellent "Lance Armstrong's War" by Dan Coyle). Strickland is an amazing writer. If you love cycling, you'll find that 50, 80, 100 pages go by before you look up from this book. It doesn't matter that last season was well chronicled by other outlets. Strickland could write about a race you've seen 10 times, and you'd still come away with fresh insight and appreciation for what it takes to race a bicycle.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By bookgirl on July 3, 2010
Format: Hardcover
I've read a lot of books on both Lance and the Tour. This book ranks up there with the best. I loved the first person perspective - I felt like I was right there with them. The Tour starts today and this book totally got me excited to watch. Go Lance!
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By David Holoman on March 10, 2011
Format: Hardcover
This book is a recap of the 2009 Tour de France. The fact that you can't tell that that's what the book is from the title is one of a number of issues with this book.

Oddly enough, this book is a love story between the author and Lance. It's by no means the gushy "Lance is the greatest, Lance is dreamy" motif-- It's a lot more complicated than that-- more like a once and future love, with a lot of soul-searching and unresolved conflict in the middle.

Or put another way, there is way, Way, WAY too much Bill Strickland in this book. A first-person account is going to end up revealing a bit about the author, but the there are just too many passages about the life times of Bill, and again, sorry, but who cares?

Another strike against this work is that the storycraft isn't very good: the first several chapters alternate between the first half-dozen or so 2009 TdF stages on the one hand, and the other 2009 races that were used to prepare for the tour. Seasick yet? Whiplash? Not to worry, the last 14 stages of the TdF were consolidated into one chapter.

I thought Strickland was excessively condescending to those with casual or popular interest in Lance-- not Billish enough, I guess. Finally, the language is a good deal coarser than the occasion warrants. The needless vulgarities are just tiresome, and telling.

A last strike against this book is that has flagrantly tacked-in magazine articles that are complete non-sequitors to the rest of the book. A blind person could see them.

I gave this book the stars I did because it is likely to be authoritative written version of the 2009 Tour, and it does reveal the interesting behind-the-scenes drama that unfolds as impossible situational mechanics unfold. I like reading Feinstein's accounts of golf better than watching the golf itself. I'd still rather watch the biking, but I did enjoy reading a text account of it, even if it was not particularly well done.
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17 of 24 people found the following review helpful By B. Sullivan on June 18, 2010
Format: Hardcover
I was really disappointed with this book. Every year I grab the cycling book featured right before the Tour. This was the worst of the bunch. Strickland has an interesting take on Lance. He's not really supportive of him, but admires his all the same. He starts the book eluding to the fact he discovered some not-so-flattering things about Armstrong, but follows it up with an 'I'm not going to tell you what they are' disclaimer. And he doesn't.

Everything in this book was a re-hash of what any above-average cycling fan (meaning, you watch more cycling races than just the Tour) already knows. The stories, quotes and 'behind the scenes' gossip have already been reported. If Strickland did have unique access to Armstrong and the team during the comeback, none of the unique insight you would expect turned up in this book. I could have written 95% of this book from news articles I read over the last 18 months.

The one bright aspect of the book was his insight into Johan Bruyneel's style as Director of a Pro-Tour cycling Team, especially during stages of the Tour. By the end of the book, I actually thought it should have been marketed as a Contador vs Armstrong story and how Bruyneel was able to manage their egos.

Don't buy this book if you are looking for any unique insight into the science, training or 'behind the scenes' anecdotes of Armstrong's comeback. If you are looking for some light reading to get ready for the 2010 Tour de France, grab it, it's a quick read.
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