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Every Second Counts by Lance Armstrong

Release date: 10th March, 2010
Publisher: Yellow Jersey Press

List Price: £8.99
Our Price: £5.99
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Lance Armstrong
Every Second Counts
Yellow Jersey Press

Sportsbookofthemonth.com price: £5.99, saving 33% on rrp

As we meander towards the end of February, a number of us will already be re-examining our new year's resolutions, wondering whether we can maintain the level of commitment required to attain something which just a few weeks ago seemed like a life-enhancing decision.

If the prospect of less drink or significant weight loss is casting a long shadow over your 2010, you should sit down and read one of Lance Armstrong's engaging books.

The ubiquitous cyclist is literally a driven man and, over recent years, has published three very readable books: It's Not About The Bike, My Comeback, (a stunning photographic guide of Armstrong's comeback to the Tour de France last year) and Every Second Counts, soon to be re-released in an updated guise.

The wavering resolutionist should read the advice Armstrong's mother once gave him: "If anything is going to get done, you've got to do it."

Lance Armstrong's resolve is certainly beyond question. After being diagnosed as having testicular cancer, he battled through the effects of chemotherapy to emerge as a better rider and ultimately as the winner of the 1999 Tour de France. That episode of his life was covered in It's Not About The Bike, which won the 2000 sports book of the year award. Throughout the sequel, also co-written with Sally Jenkins, Armstrong makes continuous reference to his cancer, often stating it was the best thing that ever happened to him.

This might sound like a curious thing to say, but here Armstrong clarifies what he means: cancer stripped away his trepidation. He no longer ponders on whether he should or could do something; now he goes for it. It's an endearing attitude.

Despite his victorious comeback in 1999, many felt that Armstrong's victory in the Tour de France had been a fluke, but being written off clearly spurred him on in 2000.

His description of the first mountain stage of that Tour gives the clearest possible insight into the mind of a professional athlete imbued with the will to win. Armstrong's enormous desire, laced with aggression, results in another remarkable turnaround. Starting the stage in 16th position and six minutes behind the leader, he finished it in possession of the yellow jersey he would not relinquish for the rest of the race.

A similar attitude is displayed the following year when he goes head-to-head with Jan Ullrich; as he passes the German's bike, he stares long and hard into his eyes, the victor confirming superiority without a word being spoken.

But there are bad days too, in particular the final mountain stage of the 2000 Tour when Armstrong made the mistake of missing a feeding station and ends on the verge of collapse.

Rather than detract from Armstrong's tale however, it serves to enhance what is another inspirational story, one which should be read by anyone planning to keep a difficult new year's promise.


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