The room seems small and blue. The camera is rolling. You sense everyone needs to exhale and relax. But this is no ordinary day; this is a typical day in the life of Lance Armstrong (LA), and is the opening scene to the Storyville documentary, ‘Stop At Nothing‘, first screened in June 2014, and currently accessible for the next 14 days on BBC i-player. Having witnessed the return and downfall of arguably one of cycling’s giants, I thought I knew the story. After viewing this documentary, I quickly realise that I do not.
Haven’t I just told you, I don’t know…Which part of “I don’t know”, don’t you understand?
We just want to be clear.
How many times do I have to say it? I’ve never taken drugs. How clear is that?
The crushing testimony made by LA, in the first few moments hits a raw nerve, knowing full well what we know today, that it was all a lie. Produced by Jessica Ludgrove and Quentin McDermott, and directed by BAFTA award winner, Alex Holmes, ‘Stop At Nothing’, is a fly-on-the-wheel documentary of LA’s meteoric rise from a 21 year old American cycling phenomenon, to a rapid spiral of drug abuse and exploitation of friends, the cycling sport, and the fans.
You keep doing your job as Frankenstein, and I’ll be the best monster you ever created – David Walsh, Sunday Times Journalist
What makes this documentary film so explosive is it’s eye-witness testimonies. Unlike, the ‘Armstrong Lie‘, which we reviewed before, ‘Stop At Nothing’ has unrivalled access to key friends and adversaries alike, tainted by LA’s lie, speaking openly of their relationships, knowledge and fears. It’s these revelations from some of his closest people, that keep you on the edge of your saddle. With such a promising life, only to be smeared by greed, power and pride, it’s not surprising that Stephen Frears’ forthcoming feature film, with Ben Foster as Lance, is already in post-production. The story is nothing short of extraordinarily numbing.
He’s on the juice. Look at his breathing. His eyes. There is no suffering. – Greg LeMond, former pro-cyclist and winner of the Tour de France
We can’t pretend he never existed. His life has affected us, even though we never met him. For those who came in contact, they continue to fight his betrayal. We don’t admire him, but that’s not to say we never did. For many, he was the reason we bought a bicycle. He was undeniably one of the figures that got people into the sport and a hero to many battling cancer. We believed, but we need not anymore.
‘Stop at Nothing’ is a portrait of what is possible in the impossible life of a professional cyclist. A highly recommended documentary; catch it before it goes on BBC i-player.
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