Paul Jesson has recently finished his autobiography; ‘Oh, THAT Tour!’, the title coming from his introduction to the pro ranks. The book isn’t a conventionally structured tome, starting with a short chapter about the Paralympics time trial/road race bronze medal he came back and won in Athens some 24 years after his Vuelta stage win...
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.
With Xmas rapidly approaching I was recently emailed to ask if I’d like to receive a Hinault, Kuiper, Lemond or Coppi fine bone china mug as a gift. They were all really nice but there’s something magical about that gorgeous Bianchi ‘celeste’ colour, so that’s what I’ll be drinking my Xmas coffee from – maybe with a shot of grappa in there.
Putting to the side for a minute the fact that Tyler lied for years about his PED use before finally coming clean and whether that means everything he says can or can't be trusted, and just reading this book with an open mind, it quickly becomes clear just how much an everyday part of pro cycling in the 1980's, 90's, and 2000's PED and illegal blood manipulation actually was.
Of course, anyone with an interest in the sport already had more than an inkling that such cheating had always played a part, and fans of the sport have had to contend with scandal following scandal since forever, and particularly since the Festina affair in 1998.
As the first Briton to win 3 Olympic golds at the same Games since 1908, Scotland's Chris Hoy has become a beacon for British sporting achievement. This autobiography charts his life from 7-year-old BMX fanatic, supported by a devoted dad and local cycling club, through paralysing self-doubt and a major career overhaul, to the sport's holy grail.
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.
"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?
"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.
‘Sorry, I fell asleep, I need my afternoon nap after one of Flavio’s training sessions – a 90 minute chain gang then six laps of a circuit with a steep ‘kicker’ in it.’ That was Hamish Strachan explaining to us why he’d missed our call – good to hear that the young man is back in the groove after a difficult start to his year.
It was 2019 when we last spoke to Iain Macleod - he was with Aberdeen Wheelers then but is now with Kelpie Racing - he’d just won the SC 50 mile championships and the man is making the headlines again; a couple of weeks ago he took the Scottish Cycling Olympic Time Trial title and before that recorded the fastest 100 mile time trial ever ridden on Scottish roads.
It was ironic that Chris Anker Sørensen’s life should end doing what he had become known for after his career as a professional cyclist was over – preparing meticulously for his role as a TV race commentator, out riding the parcours of Sunday’s World Individual Time Trial Championship in Flanders.
We liked our jaunt to the Tour of the Campsies last year and feel at home among the rolling countryside and green hills there so we headed west, first of all paying our respects to the Robert Millar mural at the foot of the Crow Road; when you watch Roglič take the Lagos di Covadonga stage in the Vuelta it’s difficult to imagine the wee fella from Glasgow winning that stage – but win it he did.
We had a look around Hawick as the 2021 Tour of Britain race carnival hit town, we caught up with friends then headed out on the course, hiding from the wind on Wanside Rig to see the peloton as it headed towards Gifford...
With victories already this season in various time trial distances ranging from 25 to 100 miles (with a two mile hill climb win too), Iain Macleod (Kelpie Racing) added the Scottish Cycling Olympic Time Trial 2021 title to his growing palmarès.
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