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Book Review – “World’s Ultimate Cycling Races”


World's Ultimate Cycling Races
Ellis Bacon’s “World’s Ultimate Cycling Races”.

The new book by respected cycling journalist Ellis Bacon may help – the “World’s Ultimate Cycling Races” is an eclectic mix of facts and stats about events all over the globe, from Pro level races such as the Tour de France and Vuelta a Espana to MTB races, Gran Fondos and Sportives that anyone can take part in.

It’s been an amazing year for British cycle sport and cycling fans, with Bradley Wiggins of Team Sky winning the Tour de France (that still feels a tad surreal to type) and the Olympic Time Trial in the summer, Jonathan Tiernan-Locke (Endura Racing) taking his home Tour of Britain, and our track riders winning World Championships in several disciplines.

It’s got to the point where cycling is becoming so popular in the mainstream press that the guys at work want to talk with me about disc wheels and hors categorie summit finishes, and there’s an obvious and increasing amount of interest in other races too – not to mention a number of them actually deciding to commute to work or even look for events to participate in.

It doesn’t sound like it’s a collection of items which should work together, but in fact it does, for a number of reasons.

There’s useful information about each event such as when it started, its distance and its website and contact details, together with a general description and great photos.

World's Ultimate Cycling Races
Moritz Milatz winning last year’s Roc d’Azur event.

The book is nicely organised, with continent map pages at the front and several other indexes at the back, such as By Country and By Category (Cyclo-Cross, Mountain bike, Pro Stage and Pro One Day, etc), and the main content is arranged by the month in which the event takes place, so the book kicks off with the Pro Stage Race La Vuelta Chile in January, followed on the next page by the Tour d’Afrique, a four month epic endurance race through ten African countries that only the hardiest would contemplate, then turn the page and we jump to the Tour Down Under in Australia, the first ProTour race of the year, and we learn that it began in 1999 and it’s six stages cover 500 miles – and there’s a small interview with Simon Gerrans as well.

You get the idea; descriptions of the world’s best Pro races sit alongside events such as the Étape du Dales, a difficult sportive event in Yorkshire open to all, the Catford CC Hill Climb in Kent and popular with club racers (albeit Dan Fleeman won the event in 2007 when riding for Cervélo Test Team) and the invitation-only Montmartre Downtown city street downhill MTB event in Paris.

World's Ultimate Cycling Races
Aussie Matt Hayman won Paris – Bourges last year. Photo©Gumdropgas.

I really like the fact that the smaller, arguably less-well known Pro races such as the Rund um den Finanzplatz in Frankfurt or the Nationale Sluitingsprijs in Belgium in October feature too.

It’s not really a book to read from start to finish, front to back, more likely you’ll dip into it and just browse, or perhaps you’ll use it to find something you might want to go and watch by the roadside or take part in yourself, when you have holidays.

Maybe you’ll want to find out more information about an event you’ve heard about before deciding to take the plunge and send in an entry form (the World Naked Bike Ride, anyone?).

“World’s Ultimate Cycling Races” is certainly a unique collection and shows the huge variety of events (and it’s not just Races) that exist in the cycling world – it’s bound to inspire cycling fans to watch more and do more.

* * *

Win a copy of World’s Ultimate Cycling Races!

Competition Update – Sunday 2nd December 2012

The competition is now closed.

This book giveaway proved very popular, so we will aim to repeat it soon.  A huge thanks to everyone who emailed in a suggestion, the correct answer is of course the “Tour of Beijing“.

Three names were drawn out of the hat yesterday for free copies of the book, and the winners are:

  • Lucas Keller
  • Christopher Johnson
  • Nick Wright

The books will be winging their way to these lucky folk next week.

We have three copies of the book, RRP £20.00, to give away to lucky readers!

All you have to do to be in with a chance of winning is email us at and tell us what race you think the photograph below depicts (we’re not looking for the year, just the event title).

The competition will remain open until Friday 30th November.

We’ll put all the correct answers into a hat and draw out three winners on Saturday 1st December, and we’ll be in touch with the lucky recipients to sort out postal addresses.

Good luck!

  Thanks to the book’s publishers, Harper Collins for supplying the prizes.

Buy the World’s Ultimate Cycling Races on Amazon

Martin Williamson
Martin is our Editor, Web site Designer and Manager, and concentrates on photography. He's been involved in cycling for over 42 years and has raced for many of them, having a varied career which includes time trials, road and track racing, and triathlons. Martin has been the Scottish 25 Mile TT and 100 Mile TT Champion, the British Points Race League Champion on the track, and was a prolific winner of time trials in his day, particularly hilly ones like the Tour de Trossachs and the Meldons MTT.

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