2014 Book Goal: 52 (mostly non-fiction)
2014 Books Read: 3 (100% non-fiction)
Wow! It all sorta comes together in this book. Sure, it reiterates a lot of the stuff that was spelled out in Tyler Hamilton’s book, The Secret Race: Inside the Hidden World of the Tour de France, but this one had so much more.
This book, Wheelmen: Lance Armstrong, the Tour de France, and the Greatest Sports Conspiracy Ever, takes a more detailed look at the man himself. Lance Armstrong certainly lived up to his name with his strong arm tactics to silence critics through intimidation, threats and more. It goes into the cult of personality that created the media darling Lance Armstrong. It goes into the intense competitive spirit that led to his using any edge he could.
The book doesn’t excuse what he did, but leaves the reader with an understanding of the forces and temptations he faced.
Do I think Armstrong is a great athlete? Yes, he was and is. Do I think he did stuff that others in the sport didn’t do? Not at all. Do I think he went too far? Definitely.
I would hope that faced with the same opportunity and temptation, I would choose a better path. I cannot be certain I would.
As with the other books I have read and reviewed on the subject, it was fascinating. I am not sure how much of the fascination stems from my love of the sport and how much from it being a very good book. I do know I read the book cover to cover extremely fast as I found myself using every available minute reading a few pages.
The book furthers my belief that Greg LeMond was and still is the greatest American cyclist and although Lance Armstrong might have been every bit as good had he stayed clean, his actions have relegated him just another cheating athlete.