Bantam Press, £16.99;
Review: Keeley Bolger
Emma O’Reilly knows better than most that it takes a lot of guts to tell the truth. As the soigneur (assistant) to Lance Armstrong and his US Postal cycling team, O’Reilly paid for speaking out about the Tour de France winner’s use of illegal performance-enhancing drugs, by spending many years locked in a bitter public battle with Armstrong.
Denounced as an ’alcoholic’ and a ’whore’ by Armstrong for giving an interview to David Walsh for his book about cycling’s doping culture, O’Reilly faced personal and financial ruin.
But throughout it all, she stuck to her story and was vindicated last year when Armstrong confessed that O’Reilly was telling the truth, that he had been doping, and was handed a lifetime ban from professional cycling.
Since then, there have been several books about doping culture — from cyclists who have confessed to using drugs, to journalists who’ve eagerly followed the scandal — but O’Reilly’s The Race To Truth gives a unique take on the episode.
Unique, because O’Reilly, a woman with much reason to hold a grudge against Armstrong, instead forgives him and is able to see his cover-up as part of the wider problem in the sport she so loves.
With a foreword from Armstrong and many interesting insights about life on the road (including the lengths she would take to ensure her lads had the right cake while they were competing), O’Reilly’s account gives a fuller picture of the scandal that so gripped the cycling community.
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