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Seven Deadly Sins [Englisch] [Taschenbuch]

David Walsh

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30. November 2012
The story of Lance Armstrong - the cyclist who recovered from testicular cancer and went on to win the Tour de France a record seven tmes, the man who wrote a bestselling and inspirational account of his life, the charitable benefactor - seemed almost too good to be true. And it was. As early as Armstrong's first victory on the Tour in 1999, Sunday Times journalist David Walsh had reason to think that the incredible performances we were seeing from Armstrong were literally too good to be true. Based on insider information and dogged research, he began to unmask the truth. Cycling's biggest star used every weapon in his armoury to protect his name. But he could not keep everyone silent. In the autumn of 2012, the USADA published a damning report on Armstrong that resulted in the American being stripped of his seven Tour victories and left his reputation in shreds. Walsh's long fight to reveal the truth had been vindicated. This book tells the compelling story of one man's struggle to bring that truth to light against all the odds.

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David Walsh is chief sportswriter for the Sunday Times and has won the UK Sportswriter of the Year title three times. For more than 13 years, he has been pursuing the Lance Armstrong story, and has written two previous books on the subject, LA Confidential and From Lance to Landis. Married with seven children, he lives in Cambridge.

Leseprobe. Abdruck erfolgt mit freundlicher Genehmigung der Rechteinhaber. Alle Rechte vorbehalten.


‘Yesterday’s rose endures in its name, we hold empty names.’

Umberto Eco, The Name of the Rose

Breakfast at 10 rue Kléber in Courbevoie, west of Paris, followed a pattern. An early morning walk to the patisserie, a dawdle at the newsagents on the way home and then the luxury of strong coffee, warm croissants and L’Équipe. It is August 1984 and sitting across the breakfast table is Paul Kimmage, a young Irish amateur cyclist who my wife and I have rescued from a hovel in Vincennes on the east side of Paris. I’ve known Paul for four years, since I was a rookie sports reporter covering the bike races he rode. He was moody and headstrong then and still is, but he is also intelligent and honest. It’s an easy trade-off.

We became friends quickly. When Paul went to Paris to pursue his dream of being a pro bike rider I followed him soon after. I’d agreed to write a book about my hero, the cyclist Sean Kelly, and I wanted to live in his world. As Paul and I were both in Paris, it was always likely I would bump into him. He had come with his brother Raphael who was also hoping to turn pro and they rode for the best-known Parisian amateur team, ACBB. Raphael fell sick a lot, missed races and then he just got sick of being sick. So he went back to Dublin, leaving his brother alone in Vincennes. It was then Paul came to live with us.

He and I shared a love of cycling; he was born to it while I rode in on the bandwagon fuelled by Kelly’s success. But by this point I’d been at the Tour de France three times, covered all the spring classics, Paris–Nice, the Tour of Switzerland and could read the cycling pages of L’Équipe. I considered myself virtually French. It was however the minor accomplishment of my literacy that brought tension to the breakfast table on that August morning in 1984.

‘Bloody hell! Roche isn’t riding the Worlds, an insect bite or something,’ I say, speaking of the Irish cyclist Stephen Roche and guessing the meaning of les mots that I don’t understand.

‘Look, I’d rather read the paper myself, after you’re done with it,’ Paul says.

‘What’s the difference? I’m telling he’s out of the Worlds.’

‘I’m telling you, I’d rather read it myself.’

‘That’s just stupid.’

‘Okay, it’s stupid.’ And we mightn’t then talk for an hour or two. And then we would talk for an hour or four. He told stories of the hardship and indignities that came with riding as an amateur and I brought stories back from Hollywood. What Kelly and Roche were up to, what it was like at the Tour de France, what a talent this young American Greg LeMond was, whether Laurent Fignon was right to taunt his French rival Bernard Hinault, but mostly we talked about Kelly and Roche.

I told Paul about the Saturday afternoon after the Amstel Gold race in Holland when we waited for Roche to finish at drug control so we could get on the road to Paris – they were giving me a ride back home while Kelly’s fiancée Linda would drive his car back to their home near Brussels. As we sat around in the car park waiting for Roche, Linda leaned against Sean’s immaculately clean Citroën and placed an open palm on the bonnet. After she moved away, Sean sidled over to where she had been, then discreetly took a tissue from his pocket and cleaned away the little hand-stain left by his wife-to-be.

Catching this unspoken reprimand, Linda wasn’t impressed. Only half-joking, she said, ‘Sean, that’s so typical of you. In your life it’s the car, the bike and then me.’

Kelly never blinked an eye, nor offered the hint of a smile. ‘You got the order wrong, the bike comes first.’

Where we were from defined our allegiances: Kimmage, like Roche, came from Dublin, and was in his camp. I sprang from the south-east of Ireland, no more than 20 miles from Kelly’s home town. He was my man. But Kelly’s hardness had a universal appeal and there wasn’t a Kelly story that Kimmage didn’t want to hear.

He was interested in journalism as well, would check what I wrote and say whether he thought it was any good. And he railed against my refusal to speak the little French I had. One day in the kitchen he pursued this theme in front of a few visitors.

‘He reads L’Équipe, but won’t speak French,’ he said.

‘I don’t know enough French to speak it,’ I said.

‘You know enough to try. Once you start, it gets easier.’

‘It’s okay for you, you’re in a French environment at ACBB, you have to. I’m mixing with English-speaking journalists.’

‘No, you’ve got to try because you do have enough vocabulary. French people like it when you try to speak their language.’

‘Do they?’

‘Course they do. So look, don’t be afraid to just speak it.’

Paul can be persuasive and suddenly I felt emboldened.

‘Okay,’ I said, ‘I’ll do it. I’m covering the Blois–Chaville classic on Sunday and I need to get a hotel in Blois for Saturday night. I’ll just ring up and book one.’

Picking up the thick Michelin hotel guide in the next room, I rifle through the options and come up with a perfect resting place in Blois: Hotel La Renaissance, 150 francs (£15) for the night. ‘Right,’ I say to the half-full kitchen. ‘I’m ready to go for this.’ A respectful hush falls and I dial the number for La Renaissance.

‘Hello?’ the voice says.

‘Hello,’ I say, triumphantly.


Oh . . . je m’appelle David Walsh, je suis journaliste irlandais, je voudrais une chambre avec salle de bains pour une nuit, cette samedi.

‘This is a fucking private house,’ the guy says.

I want to die but I do worse than that.

‘How did you know I spoke English?’

He hangs up. And there it ended, my life as a French speaker. From this moment on I will accept only non-speaking parts in French movies.

I got to Blois and followed the race to Chaville, hoping that Kelly might win his third one-day classic of the year, for he’d been the season’s dominant rider and, as his biographer, I wanted it to finish well. Paul had ridden the Grand Prix de L’Équipe earlier in the day, that race finishing in Chaville, and he waited by the final corner to see the finish to the pros’ race. Kelly came around that last corner in 10th or 12th place and Kimmage thought it would be a miracle for him to get in the top three. He won easily.

In the salle de presse that evening, there was the now customary procession to where I sat. ‘Parlez-vous avec Kellee?’ Everyone knew Kelly spoke to me and because he wasn’t always the most forthcoming interviewee, this gave me status. That evening back at rue Kléber, Paul and I sat up talking, about how good Kelly had been, about whether Paul would get to realise his dream of riding with the pros, and no matter how much we talked there was more to say.

That was how much in love with cycling I was back in those days. The truth is that I thought of little else and dreamed of little else. If I read a paper it was for cycling news. Ditto the television. If I thought of a double entendre it invariably had to do with bikes rather than sex.

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Amazon.com: 4.3 von 5 Sternen  94 Rezensionen
54 von 58 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
3.0 von 5 Sternen Could have baked a little longer before release 17. Dezember 2012
Von Steve Frazier - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition
This "story behind the stories" is David Walsh's personal account of pursuing evidence of Lance Armstrong's doping over the years, both as a writer for The Sunday Times of London and as author/co-author of two prior books about Armstrong. There isn't much about cycling here, nor is this the detailed expose about Armstrong. It's more narrowly a story about Walsh, his perspective, and how he tracked down and developed relationships with the most important sources for his stories about Armstrong.

Walsh deserves tons of credit for being the lead skeptic over the years about Lance Armstrong, and this book makes clear how much criticism and ostracism he faced from athletes and fellow journalists. Unfortunately, in what appears to be a bit of a rush to get this book to market, we're left with only part of the story. Another e-book collecting Walsh's own newspaper stories has already been published, and you won't find those reprinted here. In fact, if you're not already intimately familiar with Walsh's work, you may wonder what all the fuss is about. To get the fuller picture, you would also need to read that e-book of collected stories, Lanced: The shaming of Lance Armstrong.

The most interesting part of Walsh's journey is the early years, when there wasn't much direct evidence about Armstrong's doping but plenty of reason to be suspicious. Most journalists were caught between trying to tell the heroic story of Armstrong's comeback from cancer and their suspicion about his potential use of doping products, but Walsh went straight toward the skeptical side and stayed there. Tracing Walsh's mounting evidence over the years, and especially his efforts to get a few inside sources to go on the record, is the best part of the book. He also helps illuminate the early years of EPO use in sports, and helps establish the "family tree" of doping doctors and the riders who made early use of their research into modern performance enhancing drugs. As a journalism insider, Walsh also draws a line between the sports reporters who show up each summer at the Tour de France to glorify the riders -- Walsh calls these writers "fan with typewriters" -- and a smaller number of writers who work to understand what's really happening with doping behind the scenes.

The last part of this book, in which he recounts the exposure of Armstrong's doping activities since 2010, is weaker. The chronology describing what has happened with several US-based investigations is a bit jumbled, and if you haven't followed along closely I think you'd be lost. Walsh did a better job writing about the investigations elsewhere, and some of those stories have been reprinted in the previous e-book, "Lanced." But in "Seven Deadly Sins," for some reason he left out the complete interviews he's done recently with his best sources. Maybe he wasn't allowed to reprint interviews that originally appeared in The Sunday Times in his own book (?). In any case, in this particular work he's reduced to cutting-and-pasting emails from his sources to tell their side of the story. It really feels during the last part of this book that he was rushing to meet his deadline (some of the events described here are only a few weeks old as of the publication date).

Sadly, this doesn't quite become the "definitive" story of how David Walsh wrote the Lance story. To get that, you'd have to read his past couple of months of stories from The Sunday Times, the prior e-book "Lanced," and then this. There is quite a bit of material coming out on Armstrong and his doping activities now, and I think David Walsh owed himself a few more months to polish this -- it should have been a more pulled-together capstone to his "Lance Armstrong years."
22 von 25 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen A fascinating read, and a great journalist vindicated 17. Dezember 2012
Von Shannon - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition|Verifizierter Kauf
Highly recommend! David Walsh's book is an amazing and necessary read to make full sense of Lance Armstrong's terrible legacy of doping, lying and bullying. It's an incredibly well written and fascinating book. But the thing that gripped me the most was the personal story of the terrible 13 year struggle that David and a bare handful of other journalists (Paul Kimmage and Pierre Ballister, amongst others) had in investigating and reporting on a glaringly obvious truth that most journalists and a credulous public didn't want to know about. Wow. Amazing courage. I strongly recommend you read David's book first, then the USADA Report, and then Danny Coyle's "Secret Ride". Having done all that, I'm now going back to re-read "Its Not About the Bike" with a yellow highlighter and a massive sense of outrage.
9 von 9 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
4.0 von 5 Sternen Extraordinary; needs some editing. 14. Januar 2013
Von Lynskey4655 - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition|Verifizierter Kauf
Before I get to the reasons why you should read this book, let me say I agree with a previous reviewer that this book could have done with more judicious editing. At times it becomes breathless and confusing. It reads as tho' some of it was written too hastily or to a newspaper deadline. Perhaps Walsh is by now too close to his material, tho' I find it easy to forgive him for his occasional repetitions and confusions 'cos I have only admiration for his ethical clarity, persistence, and courage. There's an immediacy and indignation in this book that I find compelling. Before reading this, I was more than convinced that Armstrong was a doper. But, to my shame, I hadn't thought through the implications of that. I had no idea of the harm he has done to cycling specifically, sport in general, and to many people--not only those who are upright and innocent, but fellow doping cyclists. Walsh has convinced me not only of Armstrong's doping, but of the individual and collective costs of doping. I am astonished at the brazenness of Armstrong and those around him, the apparent obsequiousness and cowardice of pro-cycling's governing body, and what can only be described as the appallingly craven attitude of the majority of the press. And Walsh's bromides at the UK libel laws are well aimed. I once viewed Armstrong as merely the most successful in a long list of cycling cheaters who competed with a nod and a wink on a more-or-less level playing field. I now have an idea of the dangers and costs of doping. Walsh left me with a vision of Armstrong as a sociopathic, bullying, criminal whose continuing denials can only mask a desperately sad person. This is a fascinating portrayal of an extremely sordid world.
3 von 3 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
4.0 von 5 Sternen fascinating tale-uneven writing 27. August 2013
Von New Leaf - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe
This book is worth reading - even for a a person uninterested in the sport. There is fascination in this tale of stars finally aligning to bring a man of great hubris to justice. Of course, those 'stars' were individuals who sometimes suffered greatly to try and get the truth out there. The disgrace is as much in the cover-up as the delay in bringing that truth to the fore. The evidence as presented here is overwhelming that those at the top of the organization deliberately turned a blind eye. Considering that the book was written by an award-winning writer it is patchy in the quality of that writing and as others have pointed out erratic in tone and style. But nevertheless, especially in the second half you can share the author's exhaustion, tension and even, exhileration, as the final vindication of his years of persistence is realized.
3 von 3 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
4.0 von 5 Sternen Very good content; writing was rushed 13. März 2013
Von Mona Lisa - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe|Verifizierter Kauf
David Walsh lived and breathed the Lance Armstrong story for years--years when he reported (into a headwind!) facts that few wanted to know. He was abandoned by his fellow writers, ignored by most cycling fans and vilified by LA and his entourage of fanboys and lawyers. In reading this book, I got the sense that the story gushed out of David Walsh's tortured soul onto the page. So, I think he can be forgiven for writing this book in a rush immediately after the USADA report was released, even though I agree with other reviewers that the writing is sloppy in places.

This is an absolutely fascinating story yet troubling on many levels. It is not that hard to understand the cheating itself: in a culture where cheating is rampant, the watchdogs are looking the other way (even helping out), and there's a culture of omerta, it's almost hard to see how anyone could resist the temptation. What makes this story so deeply distressing is the combination of arrogance and viciousness (Lance), conspiracy (Weisel et al, UCI), gullibility (fans) and sycophancy (media) that allowed it not only to happen but to go on for well over a decade before the bizarre web of lies and cruelty finally blew up. Ultimately this story isn't about a guy who cheated to win a few races, it's about some very dark aspects of human nature: the desire to "win" at all costs, the corrupting power of money and influence, the strange need to turn flawed humans into heroes, and the fear of telling the truth when the truth is unpopular.
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