Book review: Lance: The Making of the World’s Greatest Champion

Lance: The Making of the World’s Greatest Champion is an awesome book. I enjoyed reading it so much that I even read it twice, the second time being 3 weeks later.

To get the biggest complaint out of the way: I’m not sure the book is completely objective. I think the author makes an effort to represent the doping suspicions fairly, but I also think the same author is a big Lance fan. Just like I am. So if you expect a fully objective investigative report, this is not it.

Everything else about the book is absolutely awesome. The writing is clear, crisp, and well-organized, well-researched. There are many, many original interviews and first-hand / primary source telling of stories. The book’s author, John Wilcockson, is a familiar figure. If you follow the Tour, even just on TV (as I do), you will know his voice and presence. His knowledge of the industry is very high, and his connections enabled a lot of the first-hand interviews that make up this book.

The book covers Lance’s youth, including his formative teenage years. His initial racing success, his battle with cancer, his return. His training regimen with a lot of details, and his big race success, especially in the Tour. It’s all there. In glorious detail, if you’re a tech geek like me.
Note: I’m not actually a bicycle rider. I can ride, obviously, but I don’t enjoy it much. I get bored. I have a lot of respect for people who are real riders, like my friends and colleague Jeremy. But I am not a rider myself and I know next to nothing about what it takes to be one.
Lance’s return from cancer is obviously inspiring to a lot of people. But reading how close he was to death, and how hard he’s been working to get back in shape and stay there, makes it all the more inspiring.