As the Tour begins: “Lance Armstrong cheated death, and then he kept on cheating.”


The 2016 Tour de France began today. The documentary film is from 2014.

Storyville: The Lance Armstrong Story – Stop at Nothing (BBC 4)

Documentary telling the intimate but explosive story about the man behind the greatest fraud in recent sporting history, a portrait of a man who stopped at nothing in pursuit of money, fame and success.

It reveals how Lance Armstrong duped the world with his story of a miraculous recovery from cancer to become a sporting icon and a beacon of hope for cancer sufferers around the world. The film maps how Armstrong’s cheating and bullying became more extreme and how a few brave souls fought back, until eventually their voices were heard.

Director Alex Holmes tracks down some of his former friends and team members who reveal how his cheating was the centre of a grand conspiracy in which Armstrong and his backers sought to steal the Tour de France. Friends and fellow riders were brought into a dirty pact that no-one could betray, lest the horrifying extent of complicity be revealed. But the former friends whose lives he destroyed would prove to be his nemesis, and help uncover one of the dirtiest scandals in sports history.

The article also is from 2014.

Lance Armstrong in Purgatory: The After-Life, by John H. Richardson (Esquire)

… This we can stipulate: Lance Armstrong cheated death, and then he kept on cheating. And he was no run-of-the-mill cheat. Sublimely American in his ambition, he became the best cheater, greatest cheater of all time, turning a European bicycle race into a gaudy, ruthless, and unprecedented demonstration of American corporate prowess and athletic hegemony. He doped and bullied other bikers to dope and sued or harassed people for telling the truth about him, which is hard to forgive. But he wasn’t the evil genius who invented evil. At twenty-three days and twenty-two hundred miles, the Tour is so hard that cyclists have always sought some kind of performance enhancement. In the 1920s, they took cocaine and alcohol, and in the 1940s, amphetamines. In 1962, fourteen of them dropped out because of morphine sickness. Between 1987 and 1992, use of the blood-oxygen booster called EPO may have killed as many as twenty-three riders. But even that didn’t stop them. In his testimony to the antidoping agency, testimony that helped ruin Armstrong, a former teammate named Frankie Andreu told investigators that when they first met on the European circuit in 1992, both of them quickly realized that “it was going to be difficult to have professional success as a cyclist without using EPO.” This was, in fact, the “general consensus” of the entire team, Andreu added.

And that’s how things stayed.