Being Lance Armstrong

2010-03-24 00:00


My Comeback: Up Close and Personal

Lance Armstrong

Yellow Jersey Press

SEE Lance wee. See Lance shave. See Lance surf. See Lance being interviewed. See Lance have a massage. See Lance train. See Lance race.

Few sportspeople are greater self-publicists than Lance Armstrong, who controls his image with as much rigour as he does his body. After seven wins at the Tour de France, his retirement in 2005 meant he went off the radar for two years before he decided to launch a comeback for the 2009 Tour. This book is a picture diary with some annotations of the road back that would eventually take him to a third-place finish. There are some stunning photos by Elizabeth Kreutz, and I think particularly of one of him training in the snow. But the back­story to that is that the stretch of snow on which the photo was taken was ­only a few hundred metres long, and so the awe it inspires of a man driven to extremes in his quest for perfection is diminished somewhat. For the rest, how interesting is it to see anyone in their hotel room, on an aeroplane, at a press conference? Being Lance Armstrong makes it no more riveting.

It’s a pity. Armstrong’s achievements are phenomenal. His book ­Every Second Counts is one of the best of its kind. Watching him in action is always awesome and inspiring, and his comeback did not disappoint as a story of achievement and even intrigue. Little of that, if any, comes through in this exercise in vanity, which may have as its only virtue its contribution to his cancer charity.

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