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on 14 January 2017
So sad about this book. When I was a kid I loved watching the Tour with my Dad, it was an annual must do.
We truly believed the drama the super human efforts and the amazing inspiration that Lance was.
When the news finally broke I didn't want to believe it, there were high profile 'bad tours' where riders were busted and you just thought they were one offs but gradually as I've got older I stopped believing and stopped watching the tour.
So I finally read this book years later when I was ready to accept it and learn the truth, it truly is shocking, whats worse than the lie is that it details that he was just better at cheating than all the other cheats in cycling at that time and if you were't cheating you weren't competitive.
Don't read it if you still love the tour as you may never watch it again after you do.
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on 11 July 2015
If you read one book about the Tour de France , this has to be The one. This is a book is less about doping in sport but more about one mans unwavering belief and 13 year crusade to out one of the greatest cheats and unsavoury human beings one could encounter.
Walsh and all those who came forward and gave evidence suffered so much at the hands of Armstrong and the establishment that their lives were irrevocably damaged by Armstrongs "Cancer of the Spirit". Armstrong with the aid of UCI controlled the narrative to such an extent that he could have got away with it if he had not come back to fuel his ego again in 2009-2010.
Walsh has an entertaining style which is very clear and punchy in the early part of the book but wavers slightly due his undoubted mental fatigue at the denouement as the various threads of testimony and evidence criss cross to finally snare Armstrong.
Walsh epitomizes the idiom "Stand up and be counted" and his spirit should be an example to us all in a world where so much is taken at face value and we are to lazy to scratch beneath the surface
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on 19 December 2013
This is a remarkable story of how a person attained victory in sport aided by performance enhancing drugs and was then able to bully the racing world to follow his wishes based upon the very sport that enabled him to get to that position in the first place.

People in the cycling world turned a blind eye to it as they made more money from just doing nothing about it rather than follow their own concerns. The cycling world seemed to know about the drug taking and so they dealt with it by doing nothing, nobody wanted to address the issue.

David Walsh has done a fine job and he has my admiration for standing up for his beliefs against considerable odds against him. At the end of the day it was easier for people in the racing world to just go along with the allusion rather than stand up and be counted and this behavior is very much replicated in life and in particular the business world.

LA is obviously a sociopath who manipulated people with considerable skill lacking all empathy for others (a major trait of the sociopath) and this behavior seems to continue to this day and LA seems to refuse that his actions towards others has been unacceptable.

Walsh doesn't dwell on how his isolation in the cycling world affected him nor does he explain his entry into the world of obsessiveness to stand by his beliefs. These stances makes on isolated and frustrated with others in that you can't understand why others aren't taking action when its obviously apparent what is going on.

These traits need to be admired and respected by us all. The corporate world is full of sycophants who are unwilling to challenge but just pass the paper over their desks and blame others for its content rather than take responsibility.

What worries me is whether the cycling world has cleaned itself up and what measures has been put in place to prevent this occuring again. Any measures taken would obviously have to be across all the cycling agencies.
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on 23 August 2013
Describing this book as uplifting may seem odd given that it is a story of deceit, cheating and disillusionment with sport but the dogged persistence, courage and integrity of the author to do the right thing and to stand by his values for so many years is an inspiration and manages to salvage a little integrity from that awful era for cycling. This stance was not without cost to the author and in an era when Lance Armstrong was treated as some messianic character and where his influence in the sport and media meant any dissenting carried negative consequences David Walsh deserves huge respect for making his stand. This book is clearly a very personal story, but it was also like looking into a mirror for me personally as it reflected so many of my own feelings and sense of disillusion, that journey from being an awe struck youth enthralled by the spectacle of the Tour de France, watching Hinault and Lemond's great battles, the epic 1989 race, the swashbuckling ride of Delgado in 1988 and the clinical power of Indurain destroying his opponents to one of turning away from the sport and losing all belief in what I was watching, eventually I just stopped watching. That such a wonderfully photogenic and multi-layered sport could become so corrupted is tragic. This is not just a book about Lance Armstrong, it puts him into a wider context and in some ways David Walsh is more contemptuous of the media toadies who embraced a lie for the sake of being on the inside of the sport, the governing body who were a part of the culture of doping and the doctors who made it all possible than he is of Lance Armstrong. And the ever present culture of "omerta" and the peletons reaction to riders "spitting in the soup" runs like a thread through large parts of the book. If this is a story with many villains it is also a story with its own heroes and those fellow independently minded souls who had the courage to make the stand for the right thing are given the credit they deserve throughout the book. In an era where respect for journalists has collapsed as a response to phone tapping scandals and other revelations it is heartening to be reminded of the positive powers of good journalism and the importance of independently minded reporters. Written in a very engaging, almost conversational style that sucks the reader in and won't let go this is a wonderful book. At the end I was left wanting more and desperate for more, this is a 5* book.
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on 21 July 2017
I don't know David Walsh, but I owe him an apology. I vaguely followed this through the 90s and remember the romantic in me being totally taken in by the Lance legend. I wanted to believe his story. So I vilified Walsh for his pursuit. As a trained journalist I feel even more pained by this. But I guess I'm more a "yes" man than a challenger. I'm also a cancer survivor. Post USADA report. I'd have taken inspiration from Armstrong if timing had been different. I can't forgive him now. Thank you for a lesson well learned David.
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on 25 January 2017
Although we all know about Armstrong's fall from grace these days, this is the story of one man who beat the drum from day one. It is a story about one mans obsession with getting the truth out and another mans sad obsession with winning at any cost.

It is hard to believe now that so many people wanted to believe that Lance was clean when the evidence was there that he wasn't.

Read it and read "The secret race" by Tyler Hamilton to get a picture of what was going on back in the late 90s and early 2000's in the murky world of professional cycling.
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on 23 August 2014
Until reading this book, I thought that the Author, David Walsh had played a bigger part in bringing down the reputation of Lance Armstrong, due to the articles published in the Sunday Times. It is now clear from Mr Walsh's book that Lance Armstrong's actual downfall was instigated by the Federal Investigations carried out in the U.S.A plus the damning evidence provided at a late stage by Armstrong's fellow teammate, Floyd Landis.
Mr Walsh descibes how disconsolate he was after thinking that all his years of hard work in investigating Professional Cycling's drug culture were coming to nothing and that in particular , Lance Armstrong was being "let off the hook". However, because of the ongoing investigations, that was not the case and as we all know the disgraced Lance Armstrong did receive his punishment.
The unanswered question contained in this book is "what is being done about the criminal activities of the Cycling Team Doctors, Managers and Coaches etc? To me, these people are the criminal instigators of the doping culture, trying to gain unfair and financial advantage.
In this book, I found the description of how the use of drugs, particularly the performance drug E.P.O, worked on the human
body and how it made experienced cycle race watchers somewhat suspicious, due to the ever increasing speed and the better
hill climbing ability of the riders . But five year on, we are seeing exactly the same high level of perfomance by professional bike-riders . So what's changed?
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on 29 January 2015
A compelling account of David Walsh's bravery in standing up to Lance Armstrong's cheating at a time when all his peers were happy to turn a blind eye, avoid the obvious questions and instead ride the gravy train. The refreshing thing about this book is that Walsh doesn't take the moral high ground or go down the 'I told you so route', which would be a bit tiresome... But he comes close, and adopts this stance by proxy for some of his allies and others wronged by Armstrong, most notably Betsy & Frankie Andreu and Emma O'Reilly. The 'I don't need an apology, but these people do' line feels a bit transparent at times.
But all in all a great read, and arguably I think the definitive work on Lance Armstrong's lies and cheating from someone who was there, saw it all and had the courage to call him out at the time.
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on 9 September 2014
I understood, along with many others, that Armstrong's amazing recovery from testicular cancer did not have a fairy tale element but rather a twisted, phantasmagoric essence, which would eventually find its way into our lives and consciousness. As to the full horror and depth, I confess that even my cynicism couldn't quite plumb the depths and actual depravity involved here. But and there is a but here: is Walsh completely honest as to his reasons for uncovering and exposing Armstrong's shoal of lies? Given his recent near hagiographical accounts of Team Sky and its current strong man, Chris Froome, I have real doubts. Could it simply be wounded hubris at being snubbed by his former golden boy, Armstrong, that eventually led to evisceration of this viscious, little guy? I hope not because I began to see the false piety in this book the more I considered who the real instigator and defender of truth was: Paul Kimmage. It is to him that I give credence to and Walsh's book, well documented and at time, acerbically funny, is important because it points you towards Kimmage.
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on 24 November 2015
Having been to see the movie, I thought I would also buy the book. Really glad I did because it is a great read. Because of obvious time constraints, the movie only dealt superficially with the issue but David Walsh's book goes into the gory details of Armstrong's cheating and lying. He was on the case for many years and, despite huge setbacks - like being ostracized by fellow journalists and his paper being successfully sued by Armstrong - Walsh's belief that Armstrong had been taking performance-enhancing drugs was ultimately vindicated. The book is great piece of journalism and a definite buy for avid cycling fans.
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