Book Review: Jan Ullrich, The Best There Never Was

Jan Ullrich, The Best There Never Was by Daniel Friebe

The Tour de France dominates pro cycling, the star around which the sport orbits. Many riders make it the goal of their year, other races struggle for attention. Jan Ullrich’s career was part of this, his first win suggested he’d dominate the Tour, and with it the sport for years to come. Even when he didn’t win, there was always the seasonal targeting of the Tour with his preparation getting more intense the closer the race got.

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Book Review: Socrate A Vélo

Socrate à Vélo by Guillaume Martin

Two unusual teams ride the Tour de France, one Greek and one German, each made up of thinkers like Socrates, Nietzsche, Epictetus and Machiavelli. That’s the premise “Socrates on a Bike” but it’s also an autobiographical account from Guillaume Martin, 12th overall in the last Tour de France and with a masters degree in philosophy in his back pocket. It makes for one of the most original cycling books going and written by an active rider too, so much so that even if it’s in French it’s still worth exploring in an English-language blog.

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Book Review: Colombia Es Pasión

“Colombia Es Pasión” by Matt Rendell

A biography of several Colombian cyclists as well as the story of modern Colombian cycling and Colombia itself, this book will enrich your understanding of many of today’s top riders and the arduous paths they’ve taken to reach the top of their sport.

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Book Review: Where There’s a Will

“Where There’s a Will” by Emily Chappell

A tale of adventure that might encourage you to try a longer ride and helps reflect on the nature of racing and sport.

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Book Review: One Way Ticket

One Way Ticket: Nine Lives on Two Wheels by Jonathan Vaughters

Jonathan Vaughters has written an autobiography that covers his start in cycling, the rise up the ranks and his move into team management. I’d been looking forward to this book for some time as there few books from senior team managers, the only other contemporary one is from Marc Madiot.

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Book Review: The Road Book

The Road Book, edited by Ned Boulting

This is a yearbook of the 2018 pro cycling season which contains the results of every race, listings of all the teams, their riders and more including some essays from guest writers and statistical and data nuggets. It’s an analogue effort in a digital age, a luxury good even.

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My World by Peter Sagan Book Review

Who is Peter Sagan? He’s the rider in the green jersey and the rainbow bands, the one who does the wheelies, the videos and more. Yet for all the iconic images and animated GIFs the person behind them seems elusive so here’s his autobiography with 260 pages to explain more.

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Book Review: Descent by Thomas Dekker

Descent by Thomas Dekker and Thijs Zonneveld, translated by David Doherty

When Paul Kimmage’s Rough Ride was first published he was accused of “spitting in the soup”, of dirtying the very milieu he’d worked hard to join and profit from. Here Thomas Dekker does the same only by now the broth is unpalatable to begin with and if this is a new story it repeats familiar scenes whether bloodbags hanging from hotel room picture hooks or team managers asking as few questions as possible about the training methods of their riders.

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