This *New York Times, Wall Street Journal and Amazon bestseller, which she co-wrote with Reed Albergotti, is the first book to go beyond the scathing headlines and reports by the media on the Lance Armstrong doping controversies.
In May 2010, Albergotti uncovered emails sent to cycling officials and sponsors by a former teammate of Lance Armstrong’s that revealed the complex doping program on the U.S. Postal Service cycling team.
He broke the news about the shocking emails in a story, which he wrote with his colleague O’Connell, that sent shockwaves around the sports world and led to a two-year federal investigation. Albergotti and O’Connell received a National Headliner Award and a New York Press Club award for their coverage of the doping scandal.
Here are just some excerpts from Wheelmen:
The Doping Culture among Cyclists
By the early ‘90s, doping culture had already become quite advanced among the European teams.
• Recombinant erythropoietin (EPO), a synthetic version of a natural hormone in the body that causes bone marrow to produce red blood cells, was even more powerful than the anabolic steroids that had become commonplace in athletics in the 1970s and 1980s, and injectable vials of EPO were ubiquitous in pro cycling in the ‘90s (pg 62, 200)
• Blood boosting was a way of increasing the body’s supply of red blood cells by way of transfusion and with no chance of detection (except for eye witnesses). Riders would lay down face-up on the floor of the tour bus, parked in the middle of nowhere, while the team doctors hung chilled transfusion bags from overhead luggage racks so that gravity could help the blood ease its way into their veins. 500 cc of blood (the equivalent of two cups) would be withdrawn from each rider, then re-infused a few weeks later during a race (pgs 30-32, 62).
Doping and Armstrong
|Co-Author Vanessa O'Connell|
• Lance began using low-octane doping products and human growth hormone around 1993, when he became the youngest American to win a stage of the Tour de France (pg 63).
• In 1995, Armstrong soon started complaining to his teammates that they’d done so poorly because they were competing with riders who were pumped to the gills with EPO (pg 69).
• In October 1996, at a hospital with friends and family at the start of his cancer treatment, he openly confessed to having taken performance-enhancing drugs, listing EPO, testosterone, growth hormone, cortisone, and steroids (pg 86).
• Armstrong kept his EPO in the butter compartment of his refrigerator, so he code-named it butter. If the French police came knocking and wanted to search the house, presumably, Armstrong or his wife at the time, Kristin Armstrong, could warn each other to throw out the “butter.” (pg 104)
• Armstrong figured out, shrewdly, that most Americans put a lot of stock in the effectiveness of drug testing, so all he had to do was to cite the hundreds of times he had been tested, and people would believe he was clean (pg 316).
To read the entire compelling story, pick up your book at Strictly Bicycles now or order online. O'Connell signed the remaining copies before she left. If you're still looking for that last minute gift for a cyclist or triathlete, pick up yours before the 24th!
Anyone who purchases a signed copy of Wheelmen at Strictly Bicycles can return for the signature of co-author Reed Albergotti in February when both authors visit the shop for a more formal presentation. (hold on to your receipts)
To learn more, go to the official Wheelmen website and the Wheelmen Facebook page.
*AWARDS/DISTINCTIONS: New York Times Bestseller (#13 e-book, #18 e-book/print combined), The Wall Street Journal Bestseller (#4 hardcover business), Indie Bestseller (#13, hardcover nonfiction). One of the 100 books chosen as Amazon.com's Best Books of 2013.