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From Lance to Landis: Inside the American Doping Controversy at the Tour de France [Format Kindle]

David Walsh

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Présentation de l'éditeur

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.

Biographie de l'auteur

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.

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Commentaires client les plus utiles sur (beta) 3.8 étoiles sur 5  79 commentaires
63 internautes sur 67 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 Lance to Landis 26 janvier 2008
Par Bill McGann - Publié sur
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
46 internautes sur 49 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Vaughters and Andreu seal the deal 21 septembre 2007
Par Wayne Joseph Merback - Publié sur
I read this book in one 15-hour sitting. Utterly engrossing. I had heard all of the rumors about Betsy Andreu, Emma O'Reilly, Prentice Steffen, Stephen Swart, etc. But nothing prepared me for the IM conversation between Jonathan Vaughters and Frankie Andreu. If you are left with any doubts about the pervasiveness of doping in cycling, or of Lance Armstrong's participation in said doping, after reading that conversation, you are either one of two things: 1. In complete denial, whether due to a heartfelt connection with Lance or extreme Americentrism, or 2. Connected to Lance financially. For that is the final lesson here: it's all about the money. I have read both of Lance's books and Floyd's book. Not one stands up to the challenge when confronted with Walsh's investigation. He has made a convert out of me.
34 internautes sur 36 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Truly amazing how one could remain skeptical after reading this 21 août 2007
Par Paul T - Publié sur
Being a serious cycling fan from the 80's, I strayed away from the sport around 1991 and never read or watched a single minute of coverage again until 2002 when I began following the Tour de France again. But now (in 2002) something was different: I remembered this race being about the grueling faces of riders struggling to climb mountains, but these guys were now flying up long mountain passes looking like machines - they usually weren't even breathing through their mouths.

Something wasn't right about all of this, but I just placed it into the back of my mind and sort of got halfway caught up in all of the Lance hoopla. Now, this book "From Lance to Landis" has explained everything: how doping took on a huge increase with the introduction of the drug r-EPO in the early 90's, and how it transformed the sport in the 90's and 2000's.

There is so much circumstantial evidence in this book that it leads one to ask the question, "just what is a smoking gun, anyway?" The evidence against Lance and Landis is overwhelming. When this much smoke exists, do we really need to see the gun? Then again, don't we see the gun itself with regards to the '99 Tour? How is that not a smoking gun? Anytime a 'procedure' exists anywhere in life, it can be brought into question by simply "questioning the procedure" - this is why the dopers will always have somewhere to put the blame regardless of how guilty they may be.

It is of interest to note Armstrong's official response to this book as found on his website. Lance continually tries to beat home the idea that of his 600+ acquaintances through his years of cycling, only 2 have come forward and spoken against Lance (the Andreu's). However, in this book, I can guarantee you that there are no less than 40 sources that the author cites directly in reference to Lance. That's just a plain fact.

Another fact that becomes obvious upon reading this book is that the problem of doping in cycling has been a problem far, far beyond the two individuals of Armstrong and Landis. The entire sport has been dominated by doping for many years, from the riders, to the teams, to the journalists, to the directors and organizational bodies of the sport.

All in all, if you are interested in the subject matter of this book, it is extremely well put together. Highly recommended.
17 internautes sur 19 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Well written and investigated. 23 août 2007
Par Alan Havir - Publié sur
I didn't want to read this book and didn't want to know that to win or stay in the bike race a person had to cheat. David makes a great case for the cancer of the sport that's been around since photosynthesis. Someone asked me what I thought. I said, "you have to read it to begin to grasp something we don't want to know about". He reveals an ugly side of being human and the cruelty toward others who strive for higher ideals. I am dissapointed in my sports heros. Thanks David for the peak behind the curtains. Now I understand why the Germans pulled out of the TV coverage this year. This is a must read for the sports world.
19 internautes sur 22 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 Only those who wish to keep their heads in the sand won't like this book 23 juillet 2007
Par M. Devitt - Publié sur
It amazes me that so many people are willing to believe that Lance and Tyler are innocent of the charges made against them. Mr. Walsh does a very good job of putting the flesh on the bones of the evidence against these two athletes.

As a life-long diehard fan of pro cycling and a former medical team member of a major international UCI event I had heard some of these same stories before, from some of the same sources Mr. Walsh cites. I never knew what to make of them, but it is interesting how it all comes together with multiple sources in this text.

Anyone who thinks that Lance was clean in his seven TDF victories needs to read chapter 19 of this book. It completely debunks the urban legends about "how Lance changed after cancer". He clearly cheated, plain and simple.

Think what you will, but if Jonathon Vaughters and Frankie Andreu are to be believed in a candid moment between them Lance and his posse have pulled off one of the most disgusting acts of fraud in all of sport. Too many people have a vested ( interest in making sure the "legend of Lance" keeps being repeated. Thanks to Mr. Walsh, and others, who refuse to drink the Kool Aid.
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