Lance Armstrong, the Scarface of cycling

"Everyone loves a winner, no matter how cruel."

David Runciman at The London Review of Books has an excellent review of a book about Lance Armstrong: The Secret Race: Inside the Hidden World of the Tour de France: Doping, Cover-ups and Winning at All Costs by Tyler Hamilton and Daniel Coyle.

Mr. Runciman explains how Mr. Armstrong would do anything to win, and taking drugs was only part of it. It also involved selling out his teammates, exploiting his cancer, and being fearless and devious in all aspects of his life:
Blood-doping was what gave Armstrong a shot at becoming one of the legends of the sport. But it is clear that in his own mind what made the difference was how he doped: he simply did it better than anyone else, more creatively, more ruthlessly, more fearlessly. He exploited the same opportunities that were available to everyone. For Armstrong, drugs added an extra element of competition to the sport: the competition to be the person who made best use of the drugs. Armstrong never doubted that everyone was at it. His mantra, according to Hamilton, was: ‘Whatever you do, those other fuckers are doing more.’ So there was nothing to be gained by being squeamish. The challenge was to be ahead of the curve. Armstrong hired the ‘best’ doctors (meaning both the most imaginative and the most unscrupulous), monitored the latest developments in testing and research, kept a fearsomely beady eye on his own teammates as well as on the performance of rival teams, and paid out of his own pocket to secure his supply. He was all over it, and that’s what made him a winner.
Read more: Everybody gets popped, The London Review of Books>>

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