From Lance to Landis: Inside the American Doping Controversy at the Tour de France

From Lance to Landis: Inside the American Doping Controversy at the Tour de France

4.2 10
by David Walsh
     
 

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For eight years, the Tour de France, arguably the world’s most demanding athletic competition, was ruled by two men: Lance Armstrong and Floyd Landis. On the surface, they were feature players in one of the great sporting stories of the age–American riders overcoming tremendous odds to dominate a sport that held little previous interest for their…  See more details below

Overview

For eight years, the Tour de France, arguably the world’s most demanding athletic competition, was ruled by two men: Lance Armstrong and Floyd Landis. On the surface, they were feature players in one of the great sporting stories of the age–American riders overcoming tremendous odds to dominate a sport that held little previous interest for their countrymen. But is this a true story, or is there a darker version of the truth, one that sadly reflects the realities of sports in the twenty-first century? Landis’s title is now in jeopardy because drug tests revealing that his testosterone levels were eleven times those of a normal athlete strongly suggest that he used banned substances, and for years similar allegations have swirled around Armstrong.

Now internationally acclaimed award-winning journalist David Walsh gives an explosive account of the shadow side of professional sports. In this electrifying, controversial, and scrupulously documented exposé, Walsh explores the many facets of the cyclist doping scandals in the United States and abroad. He examines how performance-enhancing drugs can infiltrate a premier sports event–and why athletes succumb to the pressure to use them. In researching this book, Walsh conducted hundreds of hours of interviews with key figures in international cycling, doctors, and other insiders, including Emma O’Reilly, Armstrong’s longtime massage therapist; former U.S. Postal Service cycling team doctor Prentice Steffen; cycling legend Greg LeMond; and former teammates of both Landis and Armstrong.

Central to the story is Lance Armstrong’s relentless, all-consuming drive to be the best. Also essential to this narrative is Floyd Landis, the unassuming, sympathetic hero who was the first winner of the Tour de France after Lance–and the first ever to face the threat of having his title revoked. More than anything else, this book will ignite anew the debate about whether there is room in the current sports culture for athletes who compete honestly, whether sports can be saved from a scandal as widespread as this, and what changes will have to be made.

With a compelling narrative and revelations that will stun, enlighten, and haunt readers, David Walsh addresses numerous questions that arise in that crucial space where sports meet the larger American culture.


From the Hardcover edition.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780345503589
Publisher:
Random House Publishing Group
Publication date:
06/26/2007
Sold by:
Random House
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
352
Sales rank:
884,309
File size:
830 KB

Meet the Author

David Walsh is chief sports writer with The Sunday Times (London). A four-time Irish Sportswriter of the Year and a three-time U.K. Sportswriter of the Year, he is married with seven children and lives in Cambridge, England. He is co-author of L.A. Confidential: The Secrets of Lance Armstrong.


From the Hardcover edition.

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From Lance to Landis: Inside the American Doping Controversy at the Tour de France 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 10 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Makes you think again about organized sports and who is involved with those programs.
A_harv More than 1 year ago
From Lance to Landis by David Walsh exposed the part of cycling that has been hidden in the shadows, and exposes a whole new part of the sport by giving a detailed account of the American doping controversy. The book does a great job exposing the unseen world behind cycling exposing cyclist such as Lance Armstrong and Floyd Landis who dominated the sport for over a decade, for using performance enhancing drugs. The book starts out by exposing how the young riders didn’t even know what drugs they were taking or what was in the needles they were being injected with. The book then moves on to expose the precise science that went into the doping at the Tour de France in such riders as Lance Armstrong and Floyd Landis. David Walsh does an excellent job presenting you with sufficient evidence on the subject and letting you draw your own conclusion based on these facts. After reading this book my knowledge of cycling and the controversy that is still in people’s minds today has vastly increased, and changed my whole perspective on the matter. Moral values are a very prevalent theme through out the novel, and are something that all professional riders had to contemplate at one point in there career. At some point the decision was bound to come up, do I do everything it will take to win, including doping, or risk losing with out it. It is very interesting reading the stories of different cyclist and how they dealt with such issues. Overall I would recommend this book to another, especially with how the recent confession of Lance Armstrong played out. The book does start out sort of slow, but once it picks up you will be hooked. If you have any interest at all in the secrets of doping and all of the controversy behind cycling, than this is a great book to read and form your own opinions on the topic that is still prevalent in today’s news. Doping, whether you agree with it or not, has definitely left its mark on the cycling community, and it will be interesting to see how the community has a whole moves on from such a crippling blow to its reputation.
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RLoughran More than 1 year ago
Investigative journalism that flies in the face of America's overweaning need for a bigger-than-life sports hero. A meticulously researched book that allows you to draw your own conclusions. Read it and you'll see.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Midway through the third stage of the 1924 Tour de France, Henri Pélissier (winner of the 1923 Tour) abandoned. Journalist Albert Londres found him drinking hot chocolate at a train station restaurant. The interview Pélissier gave is still important. After explaining what the suffering racers endured he showed Londres the various pills and potions he took to both improve his performance and mitigate his misery. ¿We run on dynamite,¿ he said. Over the years the types of dynamite have changed. In the 1930s chemists synthesized amphetamines and racers soon learned how they could help and harm. Tom Simpson died in 1967 from the effects of dehydration, diarrhea and amphetamine overdose. In the 1970s, the overuse of corticoids nearly killed 2-time Tour winner Bernard Thévenet. When he went public with his misdeeds, explaining that his use of steroids was the usual practice in the peloton, he received abuse from his sponsor, the public and his fellow riders. In the 1990s EPO made doping necessary if a racer wanted to win. Riders like Marco Pantani and Bjarne Riis ran their hematocrits to a nearly lethal 60%. Any racer wishing to compete with these men and their like were forced to either stick the needle in their arms or retire. This is not just my guess. Many racers from that era (Andy Hampsten, for one) have gone public with how the sport was transformed by a drug that could dramatically improve a racer¿s power output. Today, with a reliable test for EPO available, racers have gone on to new strategies, including old-fashioned blood doping. The best racers can spend over $100,000 a year on both the drugs and the technical expertise to avoid detection. Since this technology is so expensive, it is generally only the lower-paid lesser riders who get caught by dope tests. That brings us to Walsh¿s book and the demand that he find a ¿smoking gun¿ before he levels any accusations. Smoking guns are almost impossible to find. In 1960, Tour de France doctor Pierre Dumas walked in on Gaston Nencini while he was calmly transfusing his own saved blood in his hotel room. That¿s not going to happen today because what Nencini was doing to win the 1960 Tour was not illegal. Yet, Nencini was doing exactly what most doping experts think modern racers are doing, performing autologous (using their own saved blood for later injection) blood doping. I urge any person concerned with the obvious problem of rampant doping in sports to read this book. Walsh isn¿t a sensationalist. He is a man who hates cheaters. This book is the result of his belief that Lance Armstrong, like almost all of the rest of the professional peloton, used banned performance-enhancing modalities. By necessity, he must build a circumstantial case, but that should not be a justification to reject his conclusions out of hand. I finished the book feeling that Walsh had had indeed made his case. An old, retired Italian pro with close connections to the racers of today once sat me down and explained much about doping. He concluded by saying, ¿Bill, they are all dirty.¿ I would have liked Walsh to organize his information a little better. Still, that didn¿t keep this book from curling the hair on the back of my neck. Even those who fervently believe in Armstrong¿s innocence will learn much about modern professional cycling from this book. - Bill McGann, Author of the Story of the Tour de France