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Movie released next month; director joins Betsy Andreu, Jonathan Vaughters and others to speak about it at Toronto International Film Festival

In 2008, Oscar-winning director Alex Gibney began making “a feel-good movie” on what he believed could be one of the great sporting comebacks as Lance Armstrong sought an eighth Tour de France title; five years on, his finished work, The Armstrong Lie, instead charts the downfall of a legend.

The film, made by Sony and due for release next month, received its international premiere at the Venice Film Festival in Italy in September, and a trailer has been released.

Gibney and his crew received unprecedented access to Armstrong both ahead of and during his 2009 comeback, when he finished third in the Tour de France, and following his confession to Oprah Winfrey earlier this year.

Speaking about his film, which had the provisional title The Road Back when shooting began, Gibney says: “In 2008, I set out to make a film about a comeback. Lance Armstrong, a man who had cheated death, the 7-time-winner of the Tour de France and an inspirational figure who had raised over $300 million dollars to support those afflicted with cancer, had decided to return to cycling.

“Though he had been dogged by accusations of doping, he was going to return to the sport, at the ancient age of 38, to prove to everyone that he would race clean and still beat the field.

“I almost finished that film. Then, in 2011, I sat with my jaw open as I watched Tyler Hamilton on 60 Minutes reveal, in detail, how Lance had doped,” he went on.

“I was there in Austin, Texas, when Lance shot his interview with Oprah. I interviewed him briefly a few hours later and saw, for the first and only time, a slump in his shoulders that showed some kind of vulnerability.

“Then, a few months later, I interviewed him again. The subject of our talk, and my new movie, was not about the bike. It was about the lie. The Armstrong Lie.”

Gibney and his crew received unprecedented access to Armstrong both ahead of and during his 2009 comeback, when he finished third in the Tour de France, and following his confession to Oprah Winfrey earlier this year.

The movie also includes interviews with several people who formed part of Armstrong’s inner circle including the banned doctor, Michele Ferrari, and former US Postal, Astana and RadioShack team manager, Johan Bruyneel.

Others appearing include witnesses to the United States Anti Doping Agency’s investigation such as Frankie and Betsey Andreu and Jonathan Vaughters, and journalists including David Walsh of The Sunday Times.

The video below is of a press conference about the film at the Toronto International Film Festival last month in which Gibney, the film’s producer Frank Marshall, Betsy Andreu, journalist Bill Strickland and Jonathan Vaughters talk about the documentary and Armstrong’s career.

Skip forward to 12 minutes into the video for the press conference.

Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.

6 comments

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localsurfer [202 posts] 4 years ago
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Obviously he didn't have that much access, or he'd have spotted dubious blokes on mopeds presumably.

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Pitstone Peddler [104 posts] 4 years ago
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If Armstrong has 'allowed' him to do this, it will be a beggars bowl full of 'hard done by' and 'only doing what others did to level the playing field' style PR which Armstrong will hope begin to rebuild some credibility as he faces down the lawsuits. When will this ever go away?

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jarredscycling [456 posts] 4 years ago
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Am I a little tired of hearing about Lance? Yes, but I'll still watch this movie

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seanieh66 [196 posts] 4 years ago
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Me too, me too.

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WolfieSmith [1382 posts] 4 years ago
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I'm waiting for either: Bradley Cooper, Ben Foster, Jodie Foster, Jake Gyllenhaal, Christian Bale or Terry Christian to play Lance in the Stephen Frears movie.  38

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BikeJon [193 posts] 4 years ago
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Could be an interesting watch this one.