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Cycling books

A place to discuss all things related to current professional road races. Here, you can also touch on the latest news relating to professional road racing. A doping discussion free forum.

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Cycling books

09 Jan 2017 19:55

I've been reading a lot of cycling books over the winter so I thought I'd share a bit, but hopefully also get some good ideas for some new ones.

Michael Rasmussen - Gul Feber
I don't know if this one is translated. Written in 2013 when he came clean, very well written, definitely worth a read if you are into Michael Rasmussen and his career from a-z and all the doping stories in between and the feud with DCU.

The century talent - Jan Ullrich
Short and decent book. Definitely not a must read, but I have always been fascinated by Ulle, so had to give it a read..

Merckx - Half Man Half Machine
Literally one of the best cycling books out there Very, very detailed. A masterpiece by William Fotheringham!

Smerten, Glæden - Brian Holm
Like the Ulle book, really short. Ate it on 1 day. Brian Holm is a formidable story teller.

The Secret Race - Tyler Hamilton
I don't really like Tyler and all the LA-related stuff gets old, but its a good book.

Sort kaffe og hvide sokker
A danish book featuring Rolf Sørensen, Bjarne Riis, Brian Holm etc. speaking on everything cycling related. A very funny, easy book to read.

Netop gentagelsen er det smukke
A danish book, basically a conversation between Rolf Sørensen and the legendary movie-maker and cycling commentator, Jørgen Leth. Really enjoyed this one!

Fire away!
"This is the Tour that will determine If I can drink espresso at the Garda lake the rest of my life"
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09 Jan 2017 20:42

Domestique: The Real-Life Ups and Downs of a Tour Pro, Charly Wegelius (2013)
Interesting read from someone who worked in the shadows of his leaders. The doping part is short but rather annoying, the rest is good. His Vendée U days were hilarious.

Nous étions jeunes et insouciants, Laurent Fignon (2009)
Was fighting his cancer when this was released. He was a great character and a great champion, very good read. There are plenty of punchlines, in fact the book begins with this one :
"Ah, I recognize you: you're the guy who lost the Tour by 8 seconds!
-No, sir, I'm the guy who won it two times."

Parlons Vélo, Marc Madiot (2015)
The book is structured like a giant interview. He talks about his childhood, the french system of "mafias", his career, the (anti-)doping, his team, the greatest races, the media, the globalization... As someone who shares his vision for the sport and truly likes his passion, it's great.
Last edited by Alexandre B. on 10 Jan 2017 17:02, edited 1 time in total.
User avatar Alexandre B.
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Re: Cycling books

09 Jan 2017 21:05

Domestique is excellent I agree, a look at the peloton from a different angle than usual. Agree the part when Wegelius claims never to have witnessed the Killer doping despite sharing a room with him sounded a bit implausible - surely one could test positive just by inhaling the same air?

Just finished Road to Valor, a biography of Gino Bartali. The middle section is mostly about his role in helping forge identity documents for Italian Jews in World War II, puts the cycling action in perspective and he himself was notably reticent and modest about his heroic actions.

Bad Blood and Yellow Fever by Jeremy Whittle are well worth reading from the doping point of view. The latter's tale of the Festina tour in 1998 as it unravelled and became progressively more oppressive and febrile is compelling.

Agree Fignon's autobiography is great too once one gets past his rather purple prose, particularly poignant as he died shortly after it came out IIRC.
Tour_de_Calvados
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Re: Cycling books

10 Jan 2017 12:07

The Death of Marco Pantani, Matt Rendell
This is an excellent read for those of us that were captivated by the Italian climber (and even if you weren't, it is very well written). It is not just about his death, but also about his life, and it goes into real depth on his upbringing, his relationships, his doping, his drug addiction and (of course) his death. I read it years ago, but recent prints include an update to include the 2014-15 investigation into his death.

Slaying the Badger, Richard Moore
In-depth analysis of the 1985 Tour de France, with a particular focus on the LeMond - Hinault relationship and rivalry. I knew a fair bit about the riders themselves, but I really enjoyed the background into characters such as Bernard Tapie and coach Paul Koechli.
barmaher
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10 Jan 2017 16:43

I'd agree that Domestique is up there with the very best. Charley Wegelius captures the pain and dejection away from the limelight at the front of the race (if you enjoy that kind of thing!) Not an angle that you read about too often.

For something a tiny bit left field I'd recommend:

We were young and carefree, Laurent Fignon
First of all, it's a reminder of just how good Fignon was. In 1984 he won the Tour by 10 minutes, and won five stages - it was his masterpiece! It's also a study in French pride and rebelliousness - in some passages you can sense the Gallic shrug even as he types the words. Fignon's story is one worth telling, and this book does it well.
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Re: Cycling books

10 Jan 2017 18:54

Sex, lies and handlebar tape by Paul Howard
Decent book about one of the most iconic and great cyclists, goes into his twisted family life after cycling.
casati
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11 Jan 2017 02:57

Does anyone know if Cavs book is good?
User avatar SHAD0W93
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Re:

11 Jan 2017 06:50

SHAD0W93 wrote:Does anyone know if Cavs book is good?


His latest book 'at speed' is not a bad read at all, but then im a Cav fan and like all the straight shooting and tantrums that he produces from time to time, There are some funny moments in there too. Its also written by Daniel Friebe, who I find an excellent journalist like many cycling fans do.
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Re: Cycling books

17 Jan 2017 11:09

Friebe also did a reasonably good biography of Eddie Merckx, The Cannibal though I agree with the previous poster, Will Fotherinham's effort, Half Man Half Bike is the best Merckx book I have read. His book on Hinault is a really good read too, Bernard Hinault and the Fall and Rise of French Cycling. As well as a biography of the Badger, it also provides an analysis of the woes of French Cycling since the great man's reign.

I got Jens Voigt's autobiography for Xmas, Shut Up Legs which I am thoroughly looking forward to but have not yet begun to read. I've made a start on Chris Boardman's autobiography as well but, as is often the case with cycling autobiographies, the start is pretty tedious as it explores their lives before they hit the pro-scene; necessary but not a very entertaining read.

And Nicole Cooke's book, The Breakaway is fantastic. She doesn't hold back and it is a must-read for any drug-cheat sympathisers.
canarydan23
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17 Jan 2017 16:28

Beasts of Victory by the imitable Danilo

I haven't read it but I imagine its great, up there with Rylan Clark's The Life of Rylan or Joey Essex's Going Reem. Just kidding, there is probably some nice stuff in there. I remember reading the prologue/opening chapter in a Feltrinelli and him describing how he got caught and his usual doping techniques.
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Re: Cycling books

17 Jan 2017 16:34

canarydan23 wrote:His book on Hinault is a really good read too, Bernard Hinault and the Fall and Rise of French Cycling. As well as a biography of the Badger, it also provides an analysis of the woes of French Cycling since the great man's reign.


This is a brilliant book.

The Monuments by Peter Cossins is also fantastic.
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17 Jan 2017 18:07

If you race or ever have raced, then Tim Krabbe's The Rider is the only cycling book you'll ever need to read to.

And if you're a poseur, then this book will mean absolutely nothing to you.
Mongolian Torque
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Re: Cycling books

17 Jan 2017 18:52

casati wrote:Sex, lies and handlebar tape by Paul Howard
Decent book about one of the most iconic and great cyclists, goes into his twisted family life after cycling.


Great name for a cycling book :)
rick james
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17 Jan 2017 18:56

One I liked a lot, Paris-Roubaix: A journey through hell. It's about the race's history and it has so many nice pics I've never seen before. I bought it years ago in amazon, it's a big book in terms of dimensions so it's a good choice to read at home while sitting in the sofa with a tea or coffee on winter days :)

I've read Fignon's book in French, I enjoyed it because while you're reading you imagine him sitting next to you talking with his peculiar personality. In fact, I was thinking on reading it again.

Hamilton's book is a must read one. He tells everything, giving names and dates, so you can see that most of what he says it's true, and he doesn't give any excuses, he assumes everything.

Another one that nobody posted: Viva La Vuelta!: The Story of Spain's Great Bike Race . It's not bad, but it's all about dates and statistics more than anecdotes or special stories. It goes year by year telling you who won, who was second, etc.
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18 Jan 2017 09:00

For something a bit different and off the usual reading list, these Les Woodland books are all fantastically interesting.

This Island Race
The Unknown Tour de France
Tourmen
The Crooked Path to Victory
Cycling's 50 Craziest Stories
samhocking
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Re:

18 Jan 2017 19:14

GambadiLegno wrote:Another one that nobody posted: Viva La Vuelta!: The Story of Spain's Great Bike Race . It's not bad, but it's all about dates and statistics more than anecdotes or special stories. It goes year by year telling you who won, who was second, etc.


I love this one. You make it sound like it's a list of placings, but it's not. It's like a race report, explaining how every edition went, how the race was won and lost, how it progressed stage by stage. The story of the actual racing, if you will.

Not most people's cup of tea but I love it. I also have similar books for the Giro and Tour. If only I could find similar for other races.
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Re: Re:

18 Jan 2017 20:23

GuyIncognito wrote:
GambadiLegno wrote:Another one that nobody posted: Viva La Vuelta!: The Story of Spain's Great Bike Race . It's not bad, but it's all about dates and statistics more than anecdotes or special stories. It goes year by year telling you who won, who was second, etc.


I love this one. You make it sound like it's a list of placings, but it's not. It's like a race report, explaining how every edition went, how the race was won and lost, how it progressed stage by stage. The story of the actual racing, if you will.

Not most people's cup of tea but I love it. I also have similar books for the Giro and Tour. If only I could find similar for other races.


And on that note I'd like to say 'In Search of Robert Millar' by Richard Moore is pretty good. Dunno if that's because I am Scottish too or not.....?

'Stolen Vuelta' and all that......
Norks74
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Re: Cycling books

20 Jan 2017 11:24

Racing Through the Dark, The Fall and Rise of David Millar, his first autobiography, was an interesting read, though I appreciate it won't be everyone's cup of tea.
canarydan23
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Re: Cycling books

20 Jan 2017 20:16

canarydan23 wrote:Racing Through the Dark, The Fall and Rise of David Millar, his first autobiography, was an interesting read, though I appreciate it won't be everyone's cup of tea.

I enjoyed it too. It was well written/ghosted, and although such autobiographies are often an attempt to "set the record straight", I found it an absorbing read.
PlanZ
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Re: Re:

22 Jan 2017 06:59

GuyIncognito wrote:
GambadiLegno wrote:Another one that nobody posted: Viva La Vuelta!: The Story of Spain's Great Bike Race . It's not bad, but it's all about dates and statistics more than anecdotes or special stories. It goes year by year telling you who won, who was second, etc.


I love this one. You make it sound like it's a list of placings, but it's not. It's like a race report, explaining how every edition went, how the race was won and lost, how it progressed stage by stage. The story of the actual racing, if you will.

Not most people's cup of tea but I love it. I also have similar books for the Giro and Tour. If only I could find similar for other races.

Yeah, I mean at least for me it was something different that I'd expected. As you say, it's more like a report. But I'm not saying it's a no-read book. Also I would recommend it, but people should know what's it about. :)
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