The first in-depth look at Lance Armstrong's doping scandal, the phenomenal business success built on the back of fraud, and the greatest conspiracy in the history of sports.
Lance Armstrong won a record-smashing seven Tours de France after staring down cancer, and in the process became an international symbol of resilience and courage. In a sport constantly dogged by blood-doping scandals, he seemed above the fray. Then, in January 2013, the legend imploded. He admitted doping during the Tours and, in an interview with Oprah, described his "mythic, perfect story" as "one big lie". But his admission raised more questions than it answered - because he didn't say who had helped him dope or how he skillfully avoided getting caught.
Wall Street Journal reporters Reed Albergotti and Vanessa O'Connell broke the news at every turn. In Wheelmen they reveal the broader story of how Armstrong and his supporters used money, power, and cutting-edge science to conquer the world's most difficult race. Wheelmen introduces U.S. Postal Service Team owner Thom Weisel, who in a brazen power play ousted USA Cycling's top leadership and gained control of the sport in the United States, ensuring Armstrong's dominance. Meanwhile, sponsors fought over contracts with Armstrong as the entire sport of cycling began to benefit from the "Lance effect". What had been a quirky, working-class hobby became the pastime of the Masters of the Universe set.
Wheelmen offers a riveting look at what happens when enigmatic genius breaks loose from the strictures of morality. It reveals the competitiveness and ingenuity that sparked blood-doping as an accepted practice, and shows how the Americans methodically constructed an international operation of spies and revolutionary technology to reach the top. At last exposing the truth about Armstrong and American cycling, Wheelmen paints a living portrait of what is, without question, the greatest conspiracy in the history of sports.
©2013 Reed Albergotti and Vanessa O'Connell (P)2013 Penguin Audio
Criminal defense Lawyer in Las Vegas, Nevada. Read mostly non-fiction.....history, science, military biography. My quirky side likes Zombie Books? Will also pick up a fiction bestseller once in a while. Favorite movie: Being There
If you want to know what went on behind the scenes during Armstrong's 7 TDF victories, this book does a good job bringing out the facts. It's well organized and give an outsider's view of the details as compiled from the written evidence and participant interviews. You also get to hear about all the people who either facilitated the fraud or fought against it. It's more of a journalists version, and not as "personal" as probably one of the best accounts I've read, Tyler Hamilton's "The Secret Race."
I've read or listened to many books on this subject. As an cyclist I idolized Lance for years. If it weren't for him I would probably not have gotten as into the sport as I have and almost certainly wouldn't have started racing. The book is a nice compilation of his story of both winning and his downfall. I've thought for the past 8 years that he had been doping for his whole career, so his admission to that wasn't surprising. The surprising and disappointing part of his story is the collateral damage of so many people whose lives he threatened or ruined. I'd definitely recommend this book to anyone interested in the subject.
This was a book written by great reporters with knowledge for the sport— Reed Albergotti is a competitive amateur cyclist.The narration suited the book terrifically. It went at just the right pace, with suitable inflections and voices for quotes.
Narrator was ok except pronunciations were not how people normally pronounce them. EX: Hincapie is typically pronounced Hin - CA - pie. . . NOT . . . HIN - cu - pie. Very grating to the ear.
First off, someone should have taught the narrator how to pronounce names and places in the book. Second, most of the information in the book is old news from Lance's books and other sources and the only new info was the last part about the USADA. Third, the book had a strange voice, at one time in ecstasy about Lance's achievements and in the next, mocking. This may have been due to the narrator's poor consistency but it felt like the authors admire Lance but feel snubbed by him and bitter about it. Lastly, if I haven't made it clear, the narrator was a poor choice.
Lots of information and variety of detail provided but lacked the 'story'. The range of names, drugs, places and races mentioned might be overwhelming.
Tyler Hamilton's The secret race is a good complement to this book, covering less people but in more detail. It also goes into more detail about the character of riders, doctors, their relationships and how procedures like blood transfusions were undertaken.
I agree with Armstrong's assessment in that people cheat to gain an unfair advantage. That said, he didn't "cheat" but is guilty of being a just awful human being. If he chose not to take EPO and other PEDs, this book wouldn't exist. He'd own a small bike shop in Austin. It's not that he took them---everybody did---it's a story of his takedown of others. Read T. Hamilton's "The Secret Race" along with this book.
I have in fact listened to it 3 times! This book is dense with facts and compelling, well-selected anecdotes. It also provides a brief history of doping in American cycling, putting everything in a bit of context. Looking back on the whole sordid tale years later, it's really unbelievable just how many lives were tangled up in this affair, and the lengths people were willing to go to to sustain a Big Lie -- including international audiences, who found Armstrong an irresistible hero. I really felt like I was being given an insider's perspective. I remember watching Armstrong win the '99 tour and feeling the unbelievability of his dominance is what made him so awesome. His charisma, too. To now find out all the stuff that was going on in the background is disorienting to say the least. Like many, I do not feel that his admissions have been sufficiently contrite given the apparent venality of his behaviour and the viciousness of his attacks on those who dared question his mythology. It's really hard to feel much sympathy for the guy.
Travis Tygart, CEO of the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency. His persistence in following the facts and building a meticulous, airtight case against Armstrong, as well as his resilience and composure in the face of a relentless media campaign by Armstrong's team to discredit him make him a role model for American prosecutors.
Quite a good performance, marred only by his propensity to put on accents when reciting quotes by foreign interlocutors. The British accent was particularly irksome.
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