Simon & Schuster UK has acquired world rights to a “stop-press” publication by investigative journalist David Walsh about the career of Tour de France cyclist Lance Armstrong.
Armstrong was this year exposed for using performance-enhancing drugs to improve his cycling results, which led to the International Cycling Union ratifying the US Anti-doping Agency’s decision to strip him of his seven Tour de France medals, won from 1998 to 2005.
Sunday Times chief sports writer David Walsh worked for years to prove the American cyclist was guilty of doping, heavily criticised by Armstrong throughout his assertions for being a “troll”. Armstrong grew as a household name after surviving testicular cancer to win several race medals. He has always maintained his innocence in relation to the drug-cheating charges.
Now after a tightly-fought auction, S&S will publisher Walsh’s account of his 13-year campaign to expose the truth about Armstrong’s doping after S&S executive director Kerr MacRae won world rights from Richard Relton of Green Room Sports.
The book, Seven Deadly Sins, will be rushed out in four weeks' time for the Christmas season and published on 13th December.
Walsh said: “This has been the story of my working life, 13 years of striving to show the sports world that what I believed to be true was true. Most of the time, I believed Armstrong would get away with it, but in the end the failings in his character that made him cheat and lie and bully caught up with him. His seven stripped Tour de France titles are now recalled in the words of Travis Tygart, head of USADA, as ‘The greatest heist in the history of sport.'"
MacRae added: “I am delighted to be the proud publisher of what will be the book on Armstrong, the scandal that continues to rock the sporting world and from the only horse’s mouth that really counts. David Walsh is clearly the most relevant voice on the emerging story behind Lance Armstrong and this crucial era of cycling; his book will read like a detective thriller and finally tell the full extraordinary story.”
Walsh explained that he came up with the book's title via Twitter. He said: “People came up with some excellent suggestions. The most popular was LieStrong, up there was Extraordinary Proof, Not Normal, It's Really Not About The Bike. The two funniest were Fifty Shades of Bullshit and The Legend of Blagger Lance and if I'd had to go with a one-word title, then - STRIPPED…” On the final name, Seven Deadly Sins, Walsh added: “I think its got something.”