Uncovering the Armstrong 'miracle'

NATHAN BURDON
Last updated 09:51 25/06/2014

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BOOK REVIEW: Cycle of Lies: The Fall of Lance Armstrong
By Juliet Macur (HarperCollins, RRP $32)

No figure in world sport has fallen as far, or as hard, as Lance Edward Armstrong.

Tiger Woods might have lost much of the esteem the world held him in following revelations of his truly epic sexual adventures, but Armstrong had transcended his sport to become a beacon of hope for cancer sufferers and survivors around the world.

His story, of a young man from Texas, the product of a broken home, son of a hard- grafting single mother who went on to not only beat an aggressive form of testicular cancer but also win an unprecedented seven Tours de France, was a modern day miracle.

But when he finally admitted to Oprah Winfrey that all seven of his Tour victories had been fuelled by performance enhancing drugs, the dream ended.

Not just for Armstrong, but for his legion of supporters around the world. Macur, a New York Times journalist who covered the Armstrong story for more than a decade, pulls back the veil on this "miracle" and exposes much of the back story as a myth.

Of course, a lot of the truth of the Armstrong scandal has already been uncovered, or at least alluded to following investigations by the United States government and USADA, including testimony from many of Armstrong's former team mates.

Macur pulls together all the different strands of this complex story and ties them together neatly, thanks to some unprecedented access to many of the key players. Information about a young Armstrong has been gleaned also, from 26 hours of taped recordings from JT Neal, Armstrong's most influential father figure, who had plans to write his own book before dying of cancer.

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- The Southland Times

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