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Comeback 2.0: Up Close and Personal [Hardcover]

Lance Armstrong
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Book Description

Dec 1 2009
After three years in retirement following his record-setting seventh Tour de France win—which he accomplished after successfully battling the testicular cancer that almost killed him—Lance Armstrong announced his return to professional cycling to help promote a Global Cancer Campaign. Comeback 2.0 is Lance Armstrong’s first-person photo-journal of his 2009 comeback season with the goal to take the LIVESTRONG message around the world..

Heavily illustrated with color photos and text , Comeback 2.0 includes an introduction by Lance that frames his decision to return to competitive cycling followed by journal-like entries written through the course of his comeback season beginning with the Tour Down Under, followed by the Tour of California, his spectacular crash in the first stage of the Vuelta a Castilla y Leon race in Spain that resulted in a broken collar bone, the Giro d’Italia, and finally the Tour de France. The journal entries will accompany spectacular four-color photos, that offer breathtaking views of the race stages as well as intimate, behind-the-scenes shots. Renowned sports photographer and photojournalist Elizabeth Kreutz has been granted unparalled access to Lance’s day-to-day world in this, his most triumphant season. .

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About the Author

Lance Armstrong is a seven-time winner of the Tour de France and fulltime cancer fighter. He oversees the Lance Armstrong Foundation, a nonprofit organization that assists cancer patients around the world with managing and surviving the disease. He won the first of his record-setting seven Tour de France wins after surviving a nearly fatal bout with testicular cancer.  In 2008, he was named one of Time magazine’s 100 Most Influential People.  He lives in Austin, Texas.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.


The view from the top of the final podium in the Tour de France is pretty sweet. It was particularly sweet in July 2005, when I was celebrating my seventh consecutive Tour win. I'd accomplished what I'd set out to do. An eighth attempt held no allure for me. As much as I love competition -- and winning -- and even the demands of training, I was ready for a break.

In 1997, after I recovered from the testicular cancer that had metastasized to my abdomen, lungs, and brain, I felt as though I deserved a permanent vacation. I did take one for a while. I played a lot of golf and drank a fair amount of beer. But that lifestyle played itself out for me after about six months and I found my way back to competitive cycling.

After that 2005 Tour I wasn't really feeling the urge for a permanent vacation, but I was eager to get back to the things that training had kept me away from -- chiefly my three kids. Luke, Bella, and Grace had had to deal with my being away during the long months of training required for successful Tour campaigns. I was eager to spend more time with them. I was also eager to work more actively for the Lance Armstrong Foundation, the organization that I'd started to help other cancer survivors and people battling the disease. (I would also work hard on getting Proposition 15 passed in Texas -- the first state initiative to fi nance cancer research.) I also needed a break. Call it a mini-permanent vacation.

In 2006 and 2007, the Tour de France wasn't really on my radar. I wasn't avoiding it; it just wasn't on the front burner for me. Between my kids, lobbying for cancer research, and training for several marathons, my life was plenty full. But in July 2008, I was staying at the Blackwell Hotel in Columbus, Ohio, for the 2008 LIVESTRONG Summit, and my friend and manager Mark Higgins and I found ourselves with a lot of downtime in the mornings before conference events got going. Somewhat surprisingly, our hotel TV got Versus, the channel that covers the Tour pretty much 24/7 every July. Given this chance, I quickly dialed in. What got to me was watching the stage when they climbed Alpe d'Huez. I have history with Alpe d'Huez. Good history. Most notably when I won a Stage 16 time trial there that was critical to my 2004 Tour victory.

As I watched Carlos Sastre make his move on Alpe d'Huez, a move that went essentially unchallenged, I felt a pang: I want back in. It was the fi rst time I'd even considered a return to the Tour de France. I can't say that I decided right then and there to mount a comeback, but the seed was planted. In the days and weeks that followed, it was on my mind. Increasingly on my mind.

About this same time I was training for the Leadville Trail 100, a tough 100-mile mountain bike race in Leadville, Colorado. I'd originally planned to do this race in 2007. My friend and coach Chris Carmichael was going to do it, and then a bunch of us decided that we'd all do it and the guy with the slowest time would buy dinner for the rest. But after Floyd Landis announced that he was going to do Leadville, the media started pitting us against each other. I didn't like the feel of that, so I decided against doing the race that time. But I stayed interested and trained for it the following year.

Chris was coaching me. One day we were riding together and I said, "What if we keep it going after Leadville?"

"I think there's another long mountain bike race in British Columbia in September," Chris said.

"No," I said. "What if we did the Tour?"

Chris shot me a look. "You're kidding."

"Maybe. Maybe not."

Chris was genuinely stunned. He also didn't think it was a good idea. For one thing, he said, most comebacks don't work. If I didn't win, I'd go out losing. I guess he was worried about my "legacy." Later, my business partner Bart Knaggs expressed the same concern. Chris asked me to give it more thought.

Don't get me wrong. I'm very proud of winning seven consecutive Tours de France. But there's no way I'm going to let that "legacy" stop me from putting myself on the line again. For one thing, my legacy -- whatever it is -- can't be worth much if a lesser result would somehow tarnish it. Second, I can't let myself become paralyzed for fear of jeopardizing what I've achieved so far. For me, living life to the fullest is a lot about testing myself: accepting challenges, training hard, and then going for it. No way I'm spending the rest of my days avoiding goals. As far as I'm concerned, that would wreck my legacy.

When I mentioned the possibility of a comeback to Mark Higgins, he took it calmly -- not a surprise if you know the guy. He reminded me that when I retired I was all about my kids. Luke, Bella, and Grace were next on my list to tell -- but only after I'd told their mother, Kristin.

Kristin and I had a family vacation with the kids in Santa Barbara. On the way home to Austin, I told her there was something I wanted to run by her. When I explained my desire for a comeback, she cried -- I think in part because I asked her and partly in relief; she'd thought I was going to say I wanted to run for office. She was fi ne about my coming out of retirement. I'd have her support.

My kids knew about my history with the Tour, but at this point it was more through what friends had told them than from anything they actually remembered. So they were excited about the prospect of living through it with me and going to France.

Two days after he'd asked me to think about it, I called Chris Carmichael back to let him know I was doing it. I asked him if he wanted to work with me. "Dude," he said, "what do you think?" Chris had just wanted me to consider the pros and cons, but once I'd made my decision, he was with me all the way. It was a relief. It's hard to imagine training without Chris's expertise.

I also couldn't imagine launching a comeback of any kind without Johan Bruyneel. Johan was the directeur sportif -- the guy in charge -- of my team in all of the Tours that I won. He himself is a former pro cyclist and Tour de France veteran who once outsprinted the great champion Miguel Indurain in a stage that ended in Johan's native Belgium. In the years since, he's become a brilliant team strategist -- truly unparalleled in our sport. Small wonder he's been the architect of so many team and individual victories in the Tour de France.

Like everyone else I confi ded in at this time, Johan didn't know whether or not to take me seriously. He wound up fl ying to Austin pretty much to look me in the eye to see if I was for real. He instantly saw that I was.

Johan was set to direct the Astana squad, a cycling team based in Kazakhstan, in the 2009 Tour, and he already had an amazing lineup. I was pretty frank with him. I didn't want to keep him from working with a guy who might dominate the Tour for the next several years to work with me for maybe just one. But Johan said that to him, working with me again would be more satisfying than working for the next fi ve years with a potentially dominant Tour force. So we were good. And I couldn't have been more heartened by Johan's great friendship and confidence in me.

Right around this time I called Bill Stapleton, a former Olympic swimmer who's been my longtime agent. Bill has had my back for so long, I don't remember when he didn't have it. When I had cancer, he was the guy who kept the director of Cofi dis, my Tour team then, at bay when the guy arrived with the false gift of a bottle of wine, determined to renegotiate the terms of my contract or force me to take a physical when I was lying in a hospital bed, sick from chemo.

I'd started texting Bill about the Tour right after watching that Alpe d'Huez stage. At fi rst he thought I was joking. "Put down your beer and go back to the beach" pretty much sums up his reaction. But when he realized that I was serious, he took me seriously. His only real question was, "Do you really want to suffer like that again?" It was a good question. Because suffering is what bike racing is really all about. And the one who can suffer the most usually wins. Once I said yeah, I was ready, Bill's reaction was simple -- and close to the Nike motto: "Let's do it," he said. And he began to put in motion all the steps necessary for my return, from clearing my schedule to finding me a team.

The cancer survivor movement is never far from my mind. I happened to receive the Lance Armstrong Foundation board packet for our upcoming Columbus summit right around the time that the 2008 Tour was starting. It had given me a lot to think about.

The LAF had just completed two years of research focused on views about cancer in twenty-fi ve foreign countries. The results were staggering: Stigma about having cancer was still common in both developed and developing nations. Many people think that cancer is contagious. Even more important, at that time there was no individual or organization leading the charge globally for those dealing with cancer. At our Columbus summit, we planned to discuss the launch of an awareness campaign with global reach.

I got on the phone with Doug Ulman, a three-time cancer survivor who is the president of the LAF, and asked if my comeback could help boost this global initiative. While he was at Brown University, Doug had survived chondrosarcoma and then two malignant melanomas. He came back to help Brown's soccer team win three Ivy League championships. Since then he's completed ten marathons -- and one 100-mile race in the Himalayas. I've heard of altitude training, but altitude racing? Crazy.

Doug was immediately enthusiastic. He said that my comeback could help a lot. So right from the start, as my training and racing plans began to take shape, Doug helped me form an itinerary that would have me meeting with cancer patients around the globe as well as with the foreign leaders who have a lot to say about making cancer research a priority. My goal would be threefold: to raise awareness about cancer, the number-one cause of death worldwide; to reduce the stigma still attached to the disease a...

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Customer Reviews

3.7 out of 5 stars
3.7 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Not much there. Dec 7 2009
I was disappointed as this book is about 90% photographs and hardly any text. I was expecting more of story, but aside from some glossy photos and a few descriptive captions, you don't get much at all.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Photo book. The pictures tell the story. June 17 2011
By xc
This book is great for what it is, a coffee table book that is heavy on photos and light on text. Some amazing photography from behind the scenes. I find it to be inspirational for my own training regime.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars Aug. 12 2014
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Super bien!
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.3 out of 5 stars  29 reviews
30 of 34 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars High quality with stunning photographs Dec 3 2009
By Julia Flyte - Published on Amazon.com
Don't make the mistake of thinking that this is a Lance Armstrong autobiography in the style of It's Not About the Bike: My Journey Back to Life and Every Second Counts. He writes a brief introduction, but essentially it is a pictorial diary of a year in the life of Lance Armstrong, from when he made the decision to return to professional cycling through to the Tour de France earlier this year. It's a busy year with lots of training (he gets noticeably thinner over the year); racing events in Australia, the US and Europe; a broken collarbone; a new baby and lots of fundraising and campaigning for cancer research.

The photographs are all taken by Elizabeth Kreutz and they are stunning - see the examples above. They are arranged in chronological order and each is accompanied by a little explanation from Lance about what he was doing or thinking at the time. The layout of the book and the paper stock are also high quality.

Reading this book feels like you've spent a year being a fly on the wall as Lance goes about his life. It's a fascinating glimpse into his world, from the high glamour (flying in private jets and hanging out with world leaders) to the mundane (running his kids to school and playing in the backyard with them - nice backyard by the way Lance). There's even a photo of him undergoing a urine test. You certainly get an appreciation for the hard work that goes into being a professional cyclist as well as the considerable work that he does for cancer research. His relationship with his partner Anna also comes across as being very close and strong. There's a photo of him smiling with Contadour at the press conference announcing that they'd be racing together, along with a wry comment that this was probably as friendly as they ever got.

It's a gorgeous book and very interesting, but do be aware that essentially it's a coffee table book rather than an autobiography.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars awesome book Jan. 30 2010
By Mike - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I bought this book after reading the "it's not about the bike" book and this one is really great. All the pictures and captions are really interesting and gives a nice look into his comeback to the tour in '09. I'd definitely recommend this to anyone! And if you haven't read "Its Not About the Bike" definitely check that out also!
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Makes you want to Ride....now! Feb. 1 2010
By E. Paulo - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Just great images and a look into Lance's comeback. The photos a great and the descriptions to each one give great insight into Lance's Day to Day. Makes me want to get out and ride everytime I pick it up and look through it.
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting but lacks structure and consistency Jan. 13 2010
By J. Grattan - Published on Amazon.com
This photo essay is intended to give some immediacy to Lance's return to bicycle racing in late 2008, culminating in his racing in the Tour de France in July, 2009, where he finished third. The book is really a mixed bag. Many of the photos are spectacular views of racing, though there are fewer of them than one would think. Some are fairly intimate: discrete photos of Lance giving a sample to testers, of his screwed together collarbone, and Anna nursing baby Max come to mind.

In general, the selection of photographs is questionable. There are far too many of Lance meeting with officials and celebrities and promoting his LAF foundation. There is too little attention paid to chronology both in selection and description. Any reader will struggle with connecting names with individuals in the photos. There seems to be an assumption that all individuals depicted and their connection to Lance are well known. There is substantial emphasis on his family, though that is a confusing situation and, again, there are identification problems with the photos.

There is a bit of defensiveness in the book: who is a friend, who by implication is not; who supports, that is, rides for, whom; and the like. The coverage of the racing, training, and his trainers gets the short end of the stick when laid up against all else in the book. All in all, it is an interesting book but suffers from a lack of good organization, selection, and consistency. Lance fans will no doubt overlook any shortcomings.
4.0 out of 5 stars Decent book, though now some content appears deceiving Oct. 20 2013
By Paul Joseph Rice - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Would still recommend lance armstrongs book for anyone seeking motivation for tackling a break out through new direction by any means medically possible.
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