Wheelmen: Lance Armstrong, the Tour de France, and the Greatest Sports Conspiracy Ever

Wheelmen: Lance Armstrong, the Tour de France, and the Greatest Sports Conspiracy Ever

by Reed Albergotti, Vanessa O'Connell


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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.

The 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.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781592408481
Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date: 10/15/2013
Pages: 384
Product dimensions: 6.42(w) x 9.24(h) x 1.25(d)
Lexile: 1230L (what's this?)
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

Reed Albergotti is a white-collar crime reporter for The Wall Street Journal. He is also the son of a fanatic amateur cyclist who served as the director of cycling competition in the 1984 Olympics. An accomplished bike racer himself, Reed speaks the sport’s odd language.

Vanessa O'Connell, an award-winning reporter at The Wall Street Journal for seventeen years, has covered tobacco, alcohol, guns, insider trading, and the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. She has a knack for exposing the nature of corporate America and how it sometimes manipulates the score in making its money.

Table of Contents

Cast of Characters xiii

Introduction 1

Chapter 1 True Blue 7

Chapter 2 A New Beginning for American Cycling 18

Chapter 3 A Rage to Win 37

Chapter 4 The First Million 54

Chapter 5 Teamwork 76

Chapter 6 Sit-Ins and Saddle Sores 96

Chapter 7 Lance Armstrong Incorporated 122

Chapter 8 Hematocrits and Hypocrites 135

Chapter 9 Domestic Discord and the Domestique 155

Chapter 10 A New Gear 176

Chapter 11 Adieu and Fuck You 197

Chapter 12 The Comeback (Again) 219

Chapter 13 Betrayals 237

Chapter 14 The Chase 256

Chapter 15 Scorched Earth 272

Chapter 16 Not a Snitch 295

Epilogue 315

Acknowledgments 321

Notes and Sources 323

Index 351

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

"Authoritative and overflows with forceful details….Albergotti and O'Connell write like insiders looking out."
Los Angeles Times

"A chilling tale, and many of the anecdotes Albergotti and O’Connell collected sound like they were actually crafted in a TV-drama writers’ room."
The Atlantic

"Reed Albergotti and Vanessa O’Connell uncovered plenty more shocking details about the full extent of Armstrong’s drug use as well as the many people and institutions that helped him."
The Daily Beast

"The most comprehensive book on the subject … a colorful and thorough retelling."
USA Today

"Captivating . . . a level-headed view of the culture and business of cycling."
The Economist

"The book is rich in details, facts, and figures."
Velo News

"Wheelmen is all the truth-and-reconciliation the sport needs."
The Philadelphia Review of Books
"The only thing ever missing was the truth. In Wheelmen, we get it."
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

"A detailed account of Armstrong's eventual descent into disgrace."
The Guardian (UK)
"The definitive book on Armstrong."
The Montreal Gazette

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Wheelmen: Lance Armstrong, the Tour de France, and the Greatest Sports Conspiracy Ever 4.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 12 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
excellent book. not just about Lance but about the conspiracy and how they got away with it. Fascinating stuff. 
lawmarine32 More than 1 year ago
The Truth Finally Shines Through! As an avid cyclist and former law enforcement professional, I truly enjoyed this book. I have all the Armstrong books as well as Tyler Hamilton's account of his cycling carer. Armstrong has a done a lot of good, the foundation he started has helped countless cancer victims but and thats what people seem to have a problem with BUT he was a cyclist who CHEATED! His arrogance and just plain mean personality hurt a lot of people who were supposed to be his friends and then when they turned on him he was shocked!  Albergotti and O'connell did amazing job getting the story out with detail and accuracy. I highly recommend this book, Armstrong was quite a character both on and off the bike but a tragic character all the same. Read this book…well worth it!               
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The author unravels the life of Lance Armstrong as the evolution of "drugging" in cometitive cycling is narrated. A very interesting and disgusting book on what can happen to a sport.
coreyblissford More than 1 year ago
A remarkable look into Lance Armstrong. He went from world class hero to a fraud surrounded by scandal. This book shows all of that. It is a very interesting read. Highly recommended.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Wow… where public persona meets reality.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
After reading Tyler's book and Juliet Mancur's book, I wasn't sure if this would tell me anything new, but it sure did. Fascinating chronicles of Lance from a business and legal standpoint as well as the expected dirt on doping and bullying by America's once-favorite cyclist. Very well written, I didn't want to put it down.
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Hard to believe that WSG reporters got so many obvious details wrong. An example? Hamsted won the Giro going UP the Gavia. Bike history 101. Other glaring things are missed and having inside history there are several other mis-characterizations. So I was left with questioning a lot of the books facts. An obvious rush job.