New and forthcoming
Omertà is the strict code of silence that governed cycling during the Lance Armstrong era of doping. While it no longer rules the peloton, only anonymity can allow a rider to truly reveal what the world of modern professional cycling is really like.
Every aspect of a rider's life is here: the pressure and the pitfalls in joining the pro ranks, the highs and lows of having teammates and being away for months at a time, the desperation of injuries, the glory of success, the spectre of drugs - everything about what it's actually like to ride a bike for a living.
The Secret Cyclist takes us inside the team bus, along the road with the peloton and in the breakaways to hear the hidden, often weird and always entertaining stories of life as a racer.
From 2015 to 2017, Peter Sagan achieved the seemingly impossible: he won three road race World Championships in a row, ensuring his entry into the history books as one of the greatest riders of all time.
But to look at Peter’s record in isolation is to tell only a fraction of his story, because Peter doesn’t just win: he entertains. Every moment in the saddle is an opportunity to express his personality, and nobody else has succeeded in making elite cycling look so much fun. From no-hands wheelies on the slopes of Mont Ventoux to press conference mischief with clamouring journalists, Peter exudes a passion for the sport and a lovable desire to bring smiles to the faces of his fans.
So, for the very first time, you will have the opportunity to glimpse behind the scenes of Peter’s world. You will discover the gruelling training programmes necessary for success, and how Peter copes with the pressure of high expectation. You will feel that sense of elation when crossing the line ahead of the pack, and moments of desperation, like in 2017 when Peter realised he wouldn’t be allowed to challenge for his sixth Tour de France green jersey. But what better tonic than to ensure a third year in rainbow – an achievement which may never be repeated again.
The inspiring story of one man's record-breaking cycle around the world.
On Monday 18th September 2017, Mark Beaumont pedalled through the Arc de Triomphe in Paris. 78 days, 14 hours and 40 minutes earlier he set off from the same point, beginning his attempt to circumnavigate the world in record time. Covering more than 18,000 miles and cycling through some of the harshest conditions one man and his bicycle can endure, Mark made history. He smashed two Guinness World Records and beat the previous record by an astonishing 45 days.
Around the World in 80 Days is the story of Mark’s amazing achievement - one which redefines the limits of human endurance. It is also an insight into the mind of an elite athlete and the physical limits of the human body, as well as a kaleidoscopic tour of the world from a very unique perspective; inspired by Jules Verne’s classic adventure novel, Mark begins his journey in Paris and cycles through Europe, Russia, Mongolia and China. He then crosses Australia, rides up through New Zealand and across North America before the final 'sprint finish' thorough Portugal, Spain and France, all at over 200 miles a day. This is the story of a quite remarkable adventure, by a quite remarkable man.
Riding as fast as you could for as long as you could was the main tactic in the early days of road racing when Grand Tours could be won by hours. Now a minute’s delay thanks to a puncture could ruin a rider’s chances over a three-week race and the sport is described as nothing less than chess on wheels. The intricacies and complexities of cycling are what makes it so appealing: an eye for opportunity and a quick mind are just as crucial to success as a 'big engine' or good form.
So how do you win a bike race? How do you cope with crosswinds, cobbles, elbows-out sprints, weaving your way through a teeming peloton? Why are steady nerves one of the best weapons in a rider’s arsenal and breakaway artists to be revered? Where do you see the finest showcase of tactical brilliance? Peter Cossins takes us on to the team buses to hear pro cyclists and directeurs sportifs explain their tactics: when it went right, when they got it wrong – from sprinting to summits, from breakaways to bluffing.
Hectic, thrilling, but sometimes impenetrable – watching a bike race can baffle as much as entertain. Full Gas is the essential guide to make sense of all things peloton.
'I have success, money, women. I've been lionised by the public and the media. The world is at my feet. I've spread my wings and here I am, soaring above everything and everyone. But in reality, the descent has already begun.'
Thomas Dekker was set to become one of pro cycling’s superstars. But before long, he found himself sucked in by the lure of hedonistic highs and troubled by the intense pressure to perform.
In The Descent, Dekker tells his story of hotel room blood bags, shady rendezvous with drug dealers and late-night partying at the Tour de France. This is Dekker’s journey from youthful idealism to a sordid path of excess and doping that lays bare cycling’s darkest secrets like never before.
My comedy career began in 1971, which proves I have no comic timing. In 1971 there were no comedy clubs, no comedy agents and not much comedy future.
Inspired by Spike Milligan, John Dowie embarked on his comedy career in a time when such a thing was virtually unheard of, and then, just as alternative comedy began to be recognised by popular culture, he quit. And so began his next obsession – riding his bike.
Having been blessed (or cursed) with an addictive personality, Dowie quickly realises that what was once a simple hobby – cycling – will soon become something very different…
This book follows a similar route to his cycling habits: it meanders from place to place, occasionally gets lost but is unfailingly entertaining. Wending his way through France and Holland, round the lanes of Norfolk and over the hills of Devon, Dowie expertly leads his readers on a delightful journey through the trials, tribulations and triumphs of his life so far.
The Paris-Roubaix Classic. 273 kilometres of torment across the bone-crunching pavé of northern France.
In 1976 the celebrated Danish film director, Jørgen Leth, embarked on an ambitious project to capture the spirit of this spectacular and cruel one-day race. The resulting film, A Sunday in Hell, has become the most admired cycling documentary of all time, and its revolutionary camera and sound techniques have forever changed the way the sport is viewed on screen.
The film centres around legends including Eddie Merkx, Roger De Vlaeminck, Freddie Maertens and Francesco Moser, capturing not just their experiences from the saddle, but also the mood of a nation and its relationship with the most punishing of the Spring Classics.
Sunday in Hell looks at the men, the method and the places behind the film. It observes the creativity of Leth and his collaborators, explores the lives of riders such as unlikely winner Marc Demeyer and revisits locations which have changed little to this day.
Readers as well as listeners can now embark on a journey through the cycling year with The Cycling Podcast, which has been entertaining and informing fans since 2013.
Richard Moore, Lionel Birnie and Daniel Friebe share their diaries from three incident-filled Grand Tours, the Giro d’Italia, Tour de France and Vuelta a España. These take readers behind the scenes and explore the culture and landscape as well as the racing, while the ‘Lionel of Flanders’, complete with beer recommendations, does the same for the Classics in Belgium.
There are appearances, too, by leading journalists and podcast favourites François Thomazeau, who takes responsiblity for the French Tour de France jinx, Ciro Scognamiglio, with a heartfelt love letter to cult favourite Filippo Pozzato, Fran Reyes, who pens a farewell to El Pistolero, Alberto Contador, and Orla Chennaoui, who hits the road to cover La Course in a one-woman karaoke-booth-on-wheels.
Further contributions from professional riders Ashleigh Moolman Pasio and Joe Dombrowski and the voice of the Tour de France, Sebastien Piquet, as well as stunning galleries from the podcast world’s first and only dedicated photographer, Simon Gill, make this the perfect celebration of a year in cycling.
Push until it hurts, then push some more
Even by the standards of a sport that requires enormous stamina and capacity for suffering, Jens Voigt is in a class on his own. Beloved by cycling fans for his madcap one-man breakaways as much as his sense of humour and quotable catchphrases, Jens is one of the most popular personalities in cycling.
Jens was born near Hamburg, and came up through the East German system before the Wall came down. He got into the national team through the German army, before signing for his first big team. In many ways he is cycling’s anti-star; despite arguably spending more time at the front of the Tour de France than any other rider he has only worn the yellow jersey twice as his efforts have always been in the service of others.
Jens embodies the best of cycling’s qualities – loyalty to his team, sacrifice, and devotion to the sport. He says, ‘I’m not a head person, I’m more of a heart and guts guy. That’s how I race.’ Shut Up Legs is a funny, insightful and entertaining look at the tough realities of professional cycling, told in Jens’s trademark irreverent and inimitable style.
I checked my balance and peered apprehensively at the sheer drop below. Once I felt comfortable, I radioed down to Stu.
'I'm just gonna unclip quickly,' I said.
My walkie-talkie crackled straight away. Stu sounded pretty stressed. 'Dude, keep the rope on!'
I edged forward, my hands and feet scoping out the summit for any loose rock. The ridge pinnacle was still only a meter wide, if that, but I felt pretty stable.
'This bit's fine,' I said. 'The rope makes it harder for me...'
Danny MacAskill lives on the edge.
The cyclist is legendary for his YouTube viral videos like The Ridge, Cascadia and Imaginate: nerve-racking montages of stunts which scale everything from mountain peaks, rooftops, ghost towns and movie sets. His life is one of thrills, bloody spills and millions of online hits.
It hasn't been an easy ride. Doubt, stress and the 'what if?' factor circle every trailblazing trick, which require imagination, fearlessness, groundbreaking techniques and an eye for a good camera angle. He has spent his life pushing the extremes; somehow, he's still around to tell the tale.
In this unflinching memoir of mayhem, Danny shares his anarchic childhood on the Isle of Skye and early days as a street trials rider, takes us behind the scenes of his training and videos, shares never-seen-before sketches from his personal notebook, and reveals what it takes to go the next level - both mentally and physically.
Join Danny for a nerve-shredding ride. Just be sure to bring a crash helmet.
Full of adventure, mishaps and audacious attempts at cheating, the first Tour de France in 1903 was a colourful affair. Its riders included characters like Maurice Garin, an Italian-born Frenchman, said to have been swapped for a round of cheese by his parents in order to smuggle him into France to clean chimneys as a teenager, Hippolyte Aucouturier with his trademark handlebar moustache, and amateurs like Jean Dargassies, a blacksmith who had never raced before.
Dreamed up to revive struggling newspaper L'Auto, cyclists of the time were wary of this 'heroic' race on roads more suited to hooves than wheels, riding hefty fixed-gear bikes for three full weeks. 'With a few francs you could win 3,000', the paper declared in desperation, eventually attracting a field comprising a handful of the era's professional racers and, among other hopefuls, a butcher, painter and decorator, and a circus acrobat.
Would this ramshackle pack of cyclists draw crowds to throng France's rutted roads and cheer the first Tour heroes? Surprisingly it did, and, all thanks to a marketing ruse, cycling would never be the same again. Peter Cossins takes us through the inaugural Tour de France, painting a nuanced portrait of France in the early 1900s, to see where the greatest sporting event of all began.
Chris Boardman is the 2017 winner of the Cross Sports Cycling Book of the Year for his autobiography Triumphs and Turbulence.
‘The true inspiration was that Olympic gold won by Chris Boardman in Barcelona… I was so in awe of Chris Boardman’ Sir Bradley Wiggins
You may know him as the much-loved co-presenter of ITV’s Tour de France coverage or enjoyed his BBC Olympic coverage, but beyond the easy charm Chris Boardman is one of our greatest, most inspiring cyclists.
Boardman’s lone achievements in the 80s and 90s – Olympic track gold, the world hour record, repeatedly claiming the yellow jersey in the Tour de France – were the spark that started the modern era for British cycling. His endeavours both on and off the bike have made him the founding father of current golden generation – without him there would simply be no Hoy, Wiggins or Cavendish.
It is a story full of intrigue: from Olympic success, to the famous duels with Graeme Obree and the insanity of the Tour de France. Chris became a legend for his combination of physical ability and technical preparation, almost single-handedly taking British cycling from wool shirts and cloth caps into the era of marginal gains. Indeed, after his career on the bike ended, a new chapter began as the backroom genius behind GB cycling. As head of the R&D team known as The Secret Squirrel Club, Chris has been responsible for the technical innovations that made the difference in 2012 and developed Boardman Bikes, which has become the country's bestselling premium bike range.