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Book Review: Significance of a Tour de France fallen idol

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Jakarta | Tue, October 25, 2016 | 02:11 pm
Book Review: Significance of a Tour de France fallen idol

Though undoubtedly a well-researched and thoroughly engaging work, Macur often veers into scathing criticism throughout Cycle of Lies. (Shutterstock/File)

The quest for unfair advantage is seemingly an addiction in itself. Doping in sport continues to be one aspect of professional sport that refuses to go quietly into the night. And every few years some scandal or another rears its ugly head; most notably in the run up to an Olympic Games.

But few doping scandals have ever been as high-profile as Lance Armstrong’s. Described as ‘the greatest drama in modern sporting history’, Armstrong’s already well-documented fall from grace is about as epic as it gets. New York Times sports reporter and cycling correspondent, Juliet Macur, has no hesitation in illustrating the significance of the professional cyclist’s spectacular downfall in her book, Cycle of Lies: The Fall of Lance Armstrong.

See, Armstrong didn’t just win the Tour de France; he won it seven times. He was an all-American hero; an international sporting icon. He was a cancer survivor that beat incredible odds, who went on to be celebrated for his charity work. There’s no doubt he was an inspiration to millions around the world.

To go from such an exalted position to being described, as Armstrong was by the US Anti-Doping Agency, as “the ringleader of the most sophisticated, professionalized and successful doping program that sport has ever seen”, is as tragic as it is hard to believe.

In her fly-on-the-wall account of the Armstrong doping scandal, Macur documents the twists and turns of drama, taking readers behind the scenes to bring the tale that has rocked the world of cycling—and indeed the international sporting community—to life.

With unprecedented access to the key players in the drama—from Armstrong’s fellow cyclists and top cycling officials to doctors, trainers and family—Cycle of Lies reveals how Armstrong built a fortress of people around him to protect his image and upend the lives of anybody who stood in his way.

Though undoubtedly a well-researched and thoroughly engaging work, Macur often veers into scathing criticism throughout Cycle of Lies. But whether deliberate or not, her contempt and disdain undoubtedly function as fitting, almost cathartic, punishment for Armstrong’s professional misdeeds.

Perhaps this is because Macur’s exposé serves a higher purpose: to outline corruption at all levels of the sport; which she does with aplomb in this thrilling, page-turning work of contemporary narrative history. (kes)

Click here to read the book.

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Title: Cycle of Lies: The Fall of Lance Armstrong

Author: Juliet Macur

Publisher: William Collins

Published: 2011

ASIN: B0182PT690

Reviewer: Dave Barton

 

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not reflect the official stance of The Jakarta Post.

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