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Best books on pro racing?

nozzacnozzac Posts: 408
edited August 2018 in Pro race
I'm a bit of a casual cycling fan, mostly watching the big tours on TV, but would like to learn more about the game. The training, tactics, doping, bitchiness etc

I did read a book years ago but was Lance so might not have been the most truthful insight as it turns out!

What books would you recommend?

Posts

  • bobmcstuffbobmcstuff Posts: 10,565
    The Rider by Tim Krabbe - it's about an amateur race but it is the best book about cycling I have read by far.

    Wide Eyed and Legless (about the 1987 ANC Halfords Tour team), very interesting

    Millar's book The Racer is quite good, very self indulgent but it does give you an insight into racing (accepting that it is through Millar's heavily filtered vision).

    Not just about cycling, but The Sports Gene is a great read.
  • I 'd read

    Tim Moore Geronimo

    Charlie Wegelius The Domestique

    David Millar Racing Through the Dark

    in that order
  • bobmcstuffbobmcstuff Posts: 10,565
    /\ Yeah The Domestique is a good read
  • takethehighroadtakethehighroad Posts: 6,236
    I 'd read

    Tim Moore Geronimo

    Charlie Wegelius The Domestique

    David Millar Racing Through the Dark

    in that order

    Can't disagree with this. Would add Tim Moore's other book about cycling, French Revolutions.

    Etape by Richard Moore is very good for history of the TDF (which if you're a casual fan may be right up your street)
  • andyrrandyrr Posts: 1,755
    A Pieper's Tale by Allan Pieper is one I've read a few times (must try it again). I've read man many biogs of pros over the past 25+ years and this beats pretty much all of the others.
  • bm5bm5 Posts: 490
    andyrr wrote:
    A Pieper's Tale by Allan Pieper is one I've read a few times (must try it again). I've read man many biogs of pros over the past 25+ years and this beats pretty much all of the others.
    It's ages since I read it but I remember thinking the same thing. Must dig it out.
    Can't say I remember Geraint's so fondly.
  • DeVlaeminckDeVlaeminck Posts: 8,354
    I would read the Tom Simpson biography by Fotheringham
    Maybe try "We Were Young and Carefree" Fignon autobiography
    "The Escape Artist" by Matt Seaton gives a bit of an insight into the amateur cyclist whilst being about more than just cycling.
    Then there is one about a group of Brits who went over to become pros in the 1950s which is good .

    There are plenty of good ones though and some I've seen recommended that for me were a little too dry but each to their own.
    [Castle Donington Ladies FC - going up in '22]
  • DeadCalmDeadCalm Posts: 4,026
    I would read the Tom Simpson biography by Fotheringham
    Maybe try "We Were Young and Carefree" Fignon autobiography
    "The Escape Artist" by Matt Seaton gives a bit of an insight into the amateur cyclist whilst being about more than just cycling.
    Then there is one about a group of Brits who went over to become pros in the 1950s which is good .

    There are plenty of good ones though and some I've seen recommended that for me were a little too dry but each to their own.
    "Roule Britannia" by William Fotheringham?
    Team My Man 2022:

    Antwan Tolhoek, Sam Oomen, Tom Dumoulin, Thymen Arensman, Remco Evenepoel, Benoît Cosnefroy, Tom Pidcock, Mark Cavendish, Romain Bardet
  • paulwoodpaulwood Posts: 230
    +1 for The Escape Artist. A lovely book.

    There is another one whose title escapes me, a recent book by an American pro who was just good enough to get a World tour ride for a couple of seasons. An interesting account not often told.
  • salsiccia1salsiccia1 Posts: 3,723
    DeadCalm wrote:
    I would read the Tom Simpson biography by Fotheringham
    Maybe try "We Were Young and Carefree" Fignon autobiography
    "The Escape Artist" by Matt Seaton gives a bit of an insight into the amateur cyclist whilst being about more than just cycling.
    Then there is one about a group of Brits who went over to become pros in the 1950s which is good .

    There are plenty of good ones though and some I've seen recommended that for me were a little too dry but each to their own.
    "Roule Britannia" by William Fotheringham?

    Outstanding book.
    It's only a bit of sport, Mun. Relax and enjoy the racing.
  • DeadCalmDeadCalm Posts: 4,026
    Salsiccia1 wrote:
    DeadCalm wrote:
    I would read the Tom Simpson biography by Fotheringham
    Maybe try "We Were Young and Carefree" Fignon autobiography
    "The Escape Artist" by Matt Seaton gives a bit of an insight into the amateur cyclist whilst being about more than just cycling.
    Then there is one about a group of Brits who went over to become pros in the 1950s which is good .

    There are plenty of good ones though and some I've seen recommended that for me were a little too dry but each to their own.
    "Roule Britannia" by William Fotheringham?

    Outstanding book.
    Yep. I enjoyed it. Also, the Fignon one is good.
    I must try and get hold of the Simpson one.
    Team My Man 2022:

    Antwan Tolhoek, Sam Oomen, Tom Dumoulin, Thymen Arensman, Remco Evenepoel, Benoît Cosnefroy, Tom Pidcock, Mark Cavendish, Romain Bardet
  • r0bhr0bh Posts: 1,785
    paulwood wrote:
    +1 for The Escape Artist. A lovely book.

    There is another one whose title escapes me, a recent book by an American pro who was just good enough to get a World tour ride for a couple of seasons. An interesting account not often told.

    Phil Gaimon?
  • ddraverddraver Posts: 25,328
    paulwood wrote:
    +1 for The Escape Artist. A lovely book.

    There is another one whose title escapes me, a recent book by an American pro who was just good enough to get a World tour ride for a couple of seasons. An interesting account not often told.

    Isnt that the Cookie guy, something like Phil Deignan but obvs not.

    The critics choice is the Herbie Sykes book about the Peace Race.
    We're in danger of confusing passion with incompetence
    - @ddraver
  • ddraverddraver Posts: 25,328
    Gaimon!!
    We're in danger of confusing passion with incompetence
    - @ddraver
  • above_the_cowsabove_the_cows Posts: 11,406
    Would add Tim Moore's other book about cycling, French Revolutions.

    That book is hilarious. Whenever I'm having a dark moment on a climb I think of this book and tell myself that I've been cycling a lot longer than Tim, I don't have panniers and I haven't had 50cl of wine for lunch. :lol:

    Oh and I have clean shorts.
    Correlation is not causation.
  • mm1mm1 Posts: 1,063
    DeadCalm wrote:
    I would read the Tom Simpson biography by Fotheringham
    Maybe try "We Were Young and Carefree" Fignon autobiography
    "The Escape Artist" by Matt Seaton gives a bit of an insight into the amateur cyclist whilst being about more than just cycling.
    Then there is one about a group of Brits who went over to become pros in the 1950s which is good .

    There are plenty of good ones though and some I've seen recommended that for me were a little too dry but each to their own.
    "Roule Britannia" by William Fotheringham?

    Sounds more like In Pursuit of Stardom - Les Normades du Velo Anglais, Tony Hewson's memoire of trying to break into the continental peleton in the sport's "golden age" at the end of the 50's, which left me wanting more. Jean Bobet's Tomorrow we Ride is a moving account of Jean and his brother's life in the sport in the same era. Bobet's description of their "float" training ride through the rain the evening before Louison won his World title is beautiful.

    Jean Bobet has had a remarkable life, having studied English at Aberdeen University, which I guess would be pretty unusual for a self-styled Breton "plouc" (closest translation is bumpkin) today, let alone just after the war, before joining his brother in the pro peleton.

    Paul Fournel's book about Anquetil is worth reading (Jean Bobet regards Anquetil as a cheat), but doesn't get close to Need for the Bike in capturing the emotional truth of the sport (though Fournel isn't a racer, and Need for the Bikd isn't about racing).

    Phil Gaimon's books and Joe Parkin's Dog in a Hat seem realistic accounts of the exceptional athletic ability needed to get into the pro ranks and the grim reality of life when you get there.

    Hewson, Bobet, Fournel, Gaimon and Parkin all have an authentic voice, rather than being filtered or ghost written.
  • nozzacnozzac Posts: 408
    Thanks guys. I'll check into these.
  • davidofdavidof Posts: 2,919
    "Pour l'amour de Jacques" - but you'll need a org-chart to understand who is related to whom.
    BASI Nordic Ski Instructor
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  • DeVlaeminckDeVlaeminck Posts: 8,354
    mm1 wrote:
    Sounds more like In Pursuit of Stardom - Les Normades du Velo Anglais, Tony Hewson's memoire of trying to break into the continental peloton in the sport's "golden age" at the end of the 50's, which left me wanting more.

    Yes that is the book I was referring to
    [Castle Donington Ladies FC - going up in '22]
  • RichN95.RichN95. Posts: 26,540
    edited February 2020
    Sorry to be an archaeologist and bring back an old thread. But I've recently read Kenny Pryde's The Medal Factory which covers British Cycling from Peter Keen to now. It's really rather good. The criticisms I would hold against it are over exaggerating the impact of the revelations of 2016-17 (and the book leads with that) and attributing evils to social media that mainstream media were also guilty of.

    On the plus side it gives the flip side of the mainstream media accounts of those times. Stuff about Pendleton & Varnish that Blazing has alluded to, A negative assessment of the Cooke family and a generally reasonable assessment of what pro sport actually is.

    Other highlights include a story about a rider losing a medal in a brothel and the assessement of Froome as the most mentally tough person anyone has met "He's a busted*. Cold and ruthless" (said admiringly)

    *Swear filter
    Twitter: @RichN95
  • onyourrightonyourright Posts: 509
    edited March 2020
    RichN95. said:

    But I've recently read Kenny Pryde's The Medal Factory which covers British Cycling from Peter Keen to now. It's really rather good.

    Ordered on this recommendation.
  • blazing_saddlesblazing_saddles Posts: 20,520

    RichN95. said:

    But I've recently read Kenny Pryde's The Medal Factory which covers British Cycling from Peter Keen to now. It's really rather good.

    Ordered on this recommendation.
    Having read the first chapter on Amazon, I can confirm there is one major fact in there that conveniently hasn't been reported.
    "Science is a tool for cheaters". An anonymous French PE teacher.
  • bobmcstuffbobmcstuff Posts: 10,565
    edited March 2020
    Not a book but a film - Le Ride, a 90 min film about the 1928 Tour de France, free on Amazon Prime. First English speaking participants - 1 Kiwi and 3 Australians.

    Not earth shaking but enjoyable enough. Using rollers on the boat over from Australia!

    Also an insane route.
  • onyourrightonyourright Posts: 509

    Having read the first chapter on Amazon, I can confirm there is one major fact in there that conveniently hasn't been reported.

    Do you have anything to add to that?
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