Few sport doping scandals have had a bigger impact than Lance Armstrong, largely because his fame was as much due to his inspirational story (surviving testicular cancer and coming back to be a champion) as it was about what he did on a bike. He was also one of the biggest anti-doping spokespeople, before admitting that his career had been extensively aided by banned performance-enhancing subjects.
From the moment he made his confession, various film folk have been planning a biopic, and the first to reach us is The Program, starring Ben Foster.
Here’s the synopsis: ‘From Academy Award nominated director Stephen Frears (The Queen, Philomena) and producers Working Title Films (The Theory Of Everything, Everest, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy), comes the true story of the meteoric rise and fall of one of the most celebrated and controversial men in recent history; Lance Armstrong, the world-renowned Tour de France champion.
‘The world needs heroes and Lance Armstrong was the ultimate sporting hero. Following a gruelling battle with cancer, Lance returned to his cycling career in 1999 more determined than ever and with his sights set firmly on winning the Tour de France. With the help of the infamous Italian physician Michele Ferrari and team director Johan Bruyneel, he developed the most sophisticated doping program in the history of the sport. This program allowed Lance and his American teammates to dominate the world of cycling, winning the Tour an unprecedented seven times.
‘However not everyone believed the fairytale…Sunday Times journalist, David Walsh, at first charmed by Lance’s charisma and talent, soon began to question whether the ‘world’s greatest athlete’ was ‘clean’. Walsh sought to unveil the truth, his ensuing battle with Armstrong risked his own career, ostracised him from the cycling community and cost his paper, The Sunday Times, hundreds of thousands in legal costs. But the indefatigable Walsh eventually uncovered the truth when a select few prepared to talk came forward, exposing one of the greatest deceptions of our time.’
It’ll be in UK cinemas on October 16th.