For 23 days in July an enthralled global audience watched Lance Armstrong battle to win the 2004 Tour de France. His victory made history. For, in the 2004 Tour, Armstrong had pledged to do the unthinkable, to win a record-breaking sixth consecutive victory; a feat no one had achieved in the Tour's 100-year lifetime. But with stiff competition from Jan 'the Kaiser' Ullrich and others his success was by no means guaranteed. Armstrong admitted his 2003 performance was 'not acceptable' and that the gruelling cycling regime had taken a lot out of him. The resulting 2004 Tour was absolutely riveting as, following a slow start, Armstrong bulldozed his way to the lead. But Armstrong is no stranger to single-minded determination. Although diagnosed with secondary cancer earlier in his career, it took only 518 days before he was back in the saddle. His turnaround revealed the mental resources which make him a cycling legend. Veteran cycling reporter John Wilcockson's gripping account of the 2004 Tour focuses on just these sort of psychological and strategic dimensions.Using his intimate knowledge of the participants and interviews with the major players, Wilcockson tells the human side of the Tour from the perspective of the principal contenders.
His vivid description of life inside the most challenging and popular sports event in the world draws on an unparalleled knowledge of the Tour.
A graduate of the University of London, John Wilcockson was the first-ever cycling correspondent of The Times, and has reported for that and the Sunday Times for many years. He has edited five different cycling magazines, and is currently the editorial director of the world's leading competitive cycling magazine, VeloNews. For his journalistic services to the Tour de France, Wilcockson was presented with the Medaille de la Reconnaissance and the Plaque de la Reconnaissance du Tour by the race's organisers. In 2004 he reported on the Tour for the 36th time. He has written a dozen books.