LANCE: The Making of the World's Greatest Champion

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07/31/2009| 0 comments
by Thomas Valentinsen
the new book LANCE: The Making of the World's Greatest Champion by John Wilcockson
the new book LANCE: The Making of the World's Greatest Champion by John Wilcockson

LANCE: The Making of the World's Greatest Champion

Introduction to and an excerpt from the new book LANCE: The Making of the World's Greatest Champion by John Wilcockson.

Introduction to and an excerpt from the new book LANCE: The Making of the World's Greatest Champion by John Wilcockson.

No champion has astonished the world quite like Lance Armstrong. A cancer survivor who went on to win the Tour de France an unprecedented seven times, he is an inspiration to millions. Yet few know the complete story of this brash, smart, and fiercely competitive Texan who battled to the top of his sport, overcame the most rampant case of testicular cancer doctors had seen, and then conquered cycling’s Holy Grail time after time. In Lance: The Making of the World’s Greatest Champion, John Wilcockson draws on dozens of interviews with those who know him best to trace Armstrong’s remarkable, yet controversial journey in vivid detail.

Family members—including his adoptive father speaking publicly for the first time—recall Lance’s humble origins in the backstreets of Dallas, the father he barely knew, his single mom’s struggle for survival, and her second marriage that brought a move to the suburbs and new opportunities. His childhood friends and early mentors remember how he moved on from Little League baseball and football to excel at swimming, running, and triathlon, while living the life of a teenager who loved fast cars and pretty girls. They also describe the circumstances that eventually led to his taking up cycling.

As Lance’s fierce ambition drove him from the dusty plains of Texas to the snowy peaks of Europe, he was both admired and derided. He intimidated his rivals, earned the respect of his teammates, and astounded everyone with his extraordinary deeds. But his achievements have consistently been dogged by allegations of doping and secrecy, and questions of how triumph on such a grand scale could even be possible.

So how did Lance become the supreme champion of his sport? He didn’t do it alone. His compelling story is intertwined with the stories of those who helped shape his life and career, including his mother Linda, ex-wife Kristin, and one-time fiancée Sheryl Crow, along with those of his mentors, coaches, and friends. Their voices, along with those who helped him expand his cancer foundation into a worldwide movement, are integral to his unique story. Lance also reveals details, many for the first time, of how Armstrong’s legendary training, near-fatal bout with cancer, repeated doping allegations, and hostile European media all pushed him to reach the pinnacle of his sport and rightly claim the title of the world’s greatest champion.

Excerpt from LANCE: The Making of the World's Greatest Champion by John Wilcockson:

(Taken from Lance: The Making of the World’s Greatest Champion, Chapter 14)

“Lance’s hair was already starting to fall out,” Och says, “and what was left they shaved off and got him ready for surgery with this big crown on his head. The day before the surgery, he heard about a twelve-year-old around the corner that was gonna have to do the same thing. He wanted to visit this kid, so we went into his room and Lance sat down on his bed next to him, both with their crowns

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