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Lance Armstrong: Tour de Force Hardcover – 6 Jun 2005


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Product details

  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Willow (6 Jun. 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0007191839
  • ISBN-13: 978-0007191833
  • Product Dimensions: 21.8 x 14 x 3.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 940,625 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Amazon Review

Lance Armstrong's achievement (as vividly detailed in Daniel Coyle's Lance Armstrong: Tour de Force) has been one of the most astonishing in recent sporting history, not least for the reasons detailed in the book's strapline: tough guys, flawed heroes and one man's battle for ultimate supremacy. This is the remarkable story of a man who triumphed over all the odds -- a behind-the-scenes record of the 2004 professional cycling season and the manner in which Armstrong landed his sixth Tour de France victory. What makes the book particularly inspiring is the fact that Armstrong is no superman -- he talks about the many strikes against him (his age, the dissolving of his team and -- most of all -- his triumph over potentially lethal illness (his struggle against cancer is, of course, well-known).

Coyle takes us from the cyclist’s turbulent youth in Texas through his many achievements in the cycling field (notably his near loss in the 2003 tour), and his massive struggles against a series of disasters that would have floored most of us: his difficult divorce and subsequent separation from his children and, finally, the terrifying revelation of his cancer. The section on the various solutions that Armstrong tried (including new age healers and radical Italian sports doctors) makes for particularly fascinating reading: as Armstrong realised that his solutions lay elsewhere, there is a genuinely inspirational note here.

Equally fascinating are the descriptions of his obsessive fans, the mind games he was forced to play (both with his opponents and corporate heavyweights), and, of course, his much-publicised relationship with rock star Sheryl Crow. The climax, his victory in the 2004 Tour de France, rounds out one of the best sport biographies in years. --Barry Forshaw

Review

‘Lance Armstrong is one of those few cyclists whose fame transcends the limits of his sport.’ BBC News

‘His world is not only that of cycling, it is the world of American celebrity: of Super Bowl parties with Elton John, weekends at Kevin Costner's house, lunch with Brad Pitt.’ Observer

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

34 of 35 people found the following review helpful By jason roach on 19 Jun. 2005
Format: Hardcover
I have read all the Lance Armstrong based books with great fascination but this one tops the lot, it gives an in-depth view of the man himself, what makes him tick, his relationships, the way he ticks, his obsesive training regimes, i couldnt put this book down, if your into your biking then read this book, you wont be dissapointed, its a warts and all story of the complex sport of cycling and the most gruelling race in the world. EXCELLENT!!!
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 3 Aug. 2005
Format: Hardcover
Very entertainingly written account of Armstrong's preparations for and participation in the 2004 Tour de France. From an American sports writer who also manages to include "the bluffer's guide to cycling" in explaining the subject to his presumably U.S. target audience.
This book covers a huge amount of territory including sketch portraits of a number of other leading cyclists and key U.S. Postal staff but it never feels slow or needlessly drawn out. You come away with the idea that you have gained a very believable behind-the-scenes glimpse of Armstrong's character and the workings of the pro peleton.
This is probably not a book for those who worship the ground that Lance Armstrong walks on ...or maybe it is.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 25 Aug. 2005
Format: Hardcover
When I bought this book I wanted a complement to the two volumes of Armstrong's autobiography. I was looking for a measured appraisal of Armstrong and in many respects this is what I got. Daniel Coyle has sufficient standing as a journalist to have access to Armstrong and his team. He can really write, as the passages describing stages in the 2004 Tour de France were gripping even though I had long since known their outcome. He sheds a lot of interesting light on the effect abandonment by his father may have had on Armstrong which adds to the autobiographies. You also understood a lot more about Armstrong's training methods and his relationship with Jan Ullrich and you can see why of the two great talents it is Armstrong that has consistently maintained the lead. The book is also very interesting on Armstrong's relationship with his trainer, Dr Michele Ferrari. The relationship has been damaging to Armstrong, as Dr Ferrari has made some injudicious remarks about drug taking in sport and ultimately Armstrong is forced to sever his links with him after Ferrari is convicted of a doping offence by an Italian court. However, you can see why Armstrong was prepared to stick with him for so long as Ferrari has a genius sporting mind and is full of highly creative ideas to improve Armstrong's performance still further.
Those are the books strengths. However, I was disappointed by the Coyle's treatment of a book by David Walsh and Pierre Ballster. The Walsh/Ballster book makes new allegations against Armstrong but Coyle does not add anything new. I would have liked more evaluation of these claims rather than reportage.
The book also lapses sometimes into tabloid journalism including some astonishing mean spiritedness.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By R. S. Stanier on 19 Jun. 2013
Format: Paperback
We now know that Lance Armstrong is one of the greatest frauds/ cheats/deceivers the world has ever known, at the centre of THE greatest sporting drugs scandal BUT...
this wasn't what was known when Daniel Coyle published this book in 2005.
Of course, this is in many ways the book's greatest flaw: for all his emphasis on getting on 'the inside track' of Armstrong, Coyle never actually figured it out. Indeed, there's a whole chapter on David Walsh, who was busy trying to blow the whistle, but at that time nobody was listening: Walsh is a sideshow.
Coyle later published "The Secret Race" based on extensive interviews with Tyler Hamilton in 2011, and only after that did he know for sure: in his preface to that book, he says that before interviewing Hamilton in depth, he was "50-50" about whether Armstrong was a doper. And that was his position at the time of writing this book: he's non-committal. He sees how one can see Armstrong as a doper but also sees how it might be possible that he was for real. He also identifies a mentality difference: Americans think "clean=hero, doper=fraud"; Europeans think "doper=whatever everyone else is doing as well, c'est la vie".
Now this isn't quite fair, as plenty of Europeans were fed up with the doping in cycling, but it's also got some truth.
And I hope this book doesn't get entirely forgotten, because alongside the straight cheating of Armstrong and his coach Michele Ferrari, (plus everyone else, Ullrich, Hamilton, Landis et al...), Coyle has documented brilliantly the training, blood, sweat, method, planning and more that went into winning his Tour de Frances.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By tsl04 on 1 April 2010
Format: Paperback
Now updated to include a new chapter covering Lance Armstrong's return to the Tour de France in 2009, Daniel Coyle's account of the American's build-up to the 2004 race which saw him claim his record-breaking sixth win focuses more on the day-to-day life of a top professional road cyclist than it does on the racing itself.

In so doing Coyle, who gained unprecedented access to Armstrong and his US Postal Service team throughout the season, provides many fascinating insights into a peculiar world whose inhabitants fear infection and watch their weight as obsessively as the most anorexic hypochondriac. It is a world in which its occupants push lift buttons with their elbows to avoid infections spreading via their fingers, and for whom every handshake is a potential hotbed of germs. It is a world of masochistic training rides and of lung-bursting tests to assess performance and condition, where the only things that matter are the numbers. And it is a world of cloak and dagger, where every rider is constantly assessing their rivals' form and physical condition, and full of intra- and inter-team political intrigue.

Above all, this book is as close as any writer has ever been allowed to get to the man behind the façade of Lance Armstrong, cancer survivor and seven-time Tour de France champion. In so far that any book authorised and signed off by the man himself can be, this is an honest appraisal of what makes Armstrong tick, from his single-minded focus on hitting peak physical condition in the month of July to his overwhelming need to not just beat but destroy anyone who stands in his way, whether they are wielding a bike or a keyboard.
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