Boy Racer steps behind the scenes of the Tour de France. It unmasks the exotic, contradictory, hysterical and brutal world of professional cycling from the compellingly candid viewpoint of someone right in the thick of it.
A Dog in a Hat is the remarkable story of Joe Parkin. In 1987, Parkin left the comforts of home to become a bike racer in Belgium, the hardest place in the world to be a bike racer.
"The Escape Artist" by Matt Seaton, the critically acclaimed memoir about his obsession for cycling and how that obsession was tamed. For a time there were four bikes in Matt Seaton's life. His evenings were spent 'doing the miles' on the roads out of south London and into the hills of the North Downs and Kent Weald.
Let me first say this is firstly a review of the Graeme Obree autobiography, the book - not the film - "The Flying Scotsman", and also my version of the events at the world cycling championships in Sicily in 1994. I was the Great Britain team mechanic for those championships, but Mr. Obree didn't remember to mention this fact in his book. You could call this the bitter out-pouring of a man scorned, but rather it's just my memory of what happened.
"French Revolutions" Tim Moore. Not only is it the world's largest and most watched sporting event, but also the most fearsome physical challenge ever conceived by man, demanding every last ounce of will and strength, every last drop of blood, sweat, and tears. If ever there was an athletic exploit specifically not for the faint of heart and feeble of limb, this is it. So you might ask, what is Tim Moore doing cycling it?
"Push Yourself Just A Little Bit More" by Johnny Green is an interesting read, mostly because it's a book about the Tour de France, written by someone who isn't a typical cycling journo.
"Man on the Run" by Manuela Ronchi is the story of the last few years of Marco Pantani's life. The title works on two levels: after being slung out of the Giro D'Italia race on the penultimate day on a charge of suspected EPO use, whilst leading by a long way, Marco was hounded by demons - insecurity, shame, confusion, betrayal, distrust - all the way through a terrible cocaine addiction to his demise of an overdose.
This book, Allan Peiper's story, is a little different from the usual sports biography: it's clear that Allan is a sensitive, thoughtful, somewhat spiritual bloke, who spends a lot of time trying to get through life in the best way possible, whilst looking after others (he's currently working as a Team Director for the Lotto - Davitamon Pro cycling team), and usually putting himself further down his priority list than most other folk would.
The weekend after she’d annexed the Scottish ‘25’ title at Forfar with a sparkling 55:02 ride, just 10 seconds off competition record, Catriona MacGillivray (RT23) sliced 1:06 off the oldest ladies record on the books, Andrea Pogson’s 1998 ‘50’ time of 1:58:33 with a cracking 1:57:27 on the Invergordon course.
VeloVeritas caught up with Kyle Gordon on the Tuesday after his splendid 48 minute ride to the top of the Scottish 25 Mile TT Championship 2019 podium on Sunday at Forfar on a miserable but rapid morning. We chatted about his training, race plans and what it's like to be on the Scottish Cycling programme.
Gary Hand used to be a regular on the pages of VeloVeritas, he raced in France; he was always in the mix in Scottish road races; he was the driving force behind the formation of the powerful Endura team in 2009 and in 2012 achieved a long held goal of winning the Scottish Senior Road race Championship. And he’s back, at the helm of Gran Fondo Scotland.
On a rain sodden but mild and fast Sunday morning on the A90 Dundee to Aberdeen dual carriageway, starting and finishing at Forfar, Kyle Gordon (RT23) added to his Scottish 10 Mile TT Title with a rapid 48:53 to win the Scottish 25 Mile TT Championship 2019 crown from jockey-turned-bike-rider, former Olympic TT Champion, Wilson Renwick (Java Partizan Pro Cycling Team) on 49:16 and former Hill Climb Champion, David Griffiths (Bioracer-Moriarty Bikes) with 49:24.
I was fortunate enough to get an interview with Steele Bishop back in 2017, at which time he told me he was writing a book about his career: ‘Wheels of Steel.’ The book takes us from his first tentative rides right up to the current day by way of his amateur and pro careers and goes into the fascinating ‘small print’ of his three big bids for the Worlds, culminating in his Zurich success.
The pursuit race is the ultimate battle of man against the clock and, in the end, man against man. Once upon the time the pursuit champion was the king of the boards and everyone would know his name. Australian Steele Bishop was one of those men of the '80s.