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Publisher's Summary

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

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What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Michael
  • Jenison, MI, United States
  • 01-13-14

Very well written, hard to put down!

Any additional comments?

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.

7 of 7 people found this review helpful

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  • Gabriel
  • LAS VEGAS, NV, United States
  • 11-19-13

Detailed and balanced account

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."

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

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Great book and great narration

Any additional comments?

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.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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New era

After the 2017 TDF Lance did a pod cast called "stages". It was really good, insightful, funny, entertaining - something you do not get from the commentaries of Alan Partridgeesque Phil Liggit.

The truth is, yes they were ALL doping. Lance was a bit of a bully so people want to take him down a peg or two, or more. Did he entertain? Are we reading this book with avid interest while falling asleep through the Cadel Evans story...

It's a good book, worth a read/listen

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Detailed and Balanced

This was a very detailed and balanced look at the doping life of Lance Armstrong. It painted him as neither a villain or a hero, but more that of an intensely driven athlete who was willing to do anything to win, including lying and cheating. The book left me with the feeling that while the authors probablty didn't particularly like Lance, they also were willing to let the reader/listener make up their own mind about him. What more can you ask? Overall the writing was excellent as was the audio performance. Very, very well done.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • antonio
  • genthod, Switzerland
  • 08-20-16

Reads like a drama. Hard to put down

Wheelmen isn't just about Armstrong and cycling races, and it isn't just about doping. It gives instead a dramatic big picture of how the interests moving around Armstrong (team’s management, sponsors, politicians, cycling international authorities) made possible that the biggest frauds in the contemporary sport was carried forward for so many years. It also reminds us how gullible (and starving for absolute role models) we all are when we "buy into" a “perfect hero” that the media like to present us time to time. Finally, it is about the greed, the arrogance and total lack of moral boundaries of a man –Lance Armstrong- for whom only victory and fame mattered.
The narration is also very good : Santino Ferrara is at his best..
Can't recommend this highly enough even if you –like me- do not have particular interest about cycling.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Pronunciations not correct.

Would you be willing to try another one of Santino Fontana’s performances?

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.

3 of 5 people found this review helpful

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Factual account of doping in the sport of cycling

I found the presentation of the material to be very professional and without bias. The authors dealt with the facts, not their opinions.

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Breaking Bad in Spandex

What did you like best about this story?

Since 1997 I've been a fan of Lance Armstrong. Throughout the Lance Armstrong Era (199-2007) It's safe to say I was a full on flag waving, wrist band wearing, footy pajama wearing superfan. The fallout from the doping scandal, dimmed the zeal of the praises I was once known for espousing on this disgraced American hero. Reed Albergotti and Vanessa O'Connell's Wheelmen is a riveting expose' of the massive doping protocol and cover up that helped fuel the incredible comeback of the greatest cyclist the world has ever seen. If you were to take the show Breaking Bad and replace it's character's with spandex clad super athletes you would start to approach the complexity, tragedy and remarkable interwoven storylines that play out here. This was my second audiobook since joining Audible and everyday in the car I hit play with a slight queasy feeling in my stomach. I knew that Reed and Vanessa were systematically ripping a sports God to shreds as the miles passed each day in my work vehicle. I found myself starting to cheer for some of the characters that sought to expose the truth about the US Postal Service and even Lance himself. The terrible fallout left me feeling just as dejected as I did in 2012. However, this time I felt as if justice was handed down and I find myself rooting for Lance to make yet another comeback...this time in the world of morality and public opinion. I will still continue to listen to Lance's excellent podcast - The Forward. I strongly recommend both Wheelmen and Lance Armstrong's Podcast The Forward.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

The incredibly tragic story of Floyd Landis<br/><br/>This was my favorite quote<br/><br/>"Society's gullibility in the face of ever mounting evidence, probably has something to do with it's need for a certain kind of hero. Looked at this way, Lance is the inevitable product of our celebrity worshipping culture and the whole money mad world of sports gone amuck. This is the Golden Age of Fraud. An era of general willingess to justify the wrongdoing of the rich and powerful. Which makes every lie bigger and widens it's destructive path."

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Zero Stars all around

Tempest in a teacup. Are we supposed to feel anguish about professional cyclists doing whatever it takes to win bike races? Come on, find a cause that's worthwhile. And spare me the "I was forced into it" dogma of the other riders. Get a life in the real world.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • James
  • 08-26-16

In Depth Review

Where does Wheelmen rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

The most in depth review of the mirky waters of cycling and Lance Arsmtrong that I have read or listened to.