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.
The world as seen from a bike
'Understated, comic and melancholic... It’ll inspire you to get back on your bike.' Martin Love, The Guardian
‘One of the most entertaining sports books I have ever read’ Joe Short, The Daily Express
In this award-winning collection of cycling tales, Wilfried de Jong uncovers the true soul of cycling – why we do it, why we watch it, why we hate it, why we love it – stripped bare.
With his distinctly comic and melancholic charm Wilfried ponders life, love and death on his trusted bike, chasing the essence of our existence against the backdrop of major cycling events or while roaming alone in nature.
Whether he is describing being ejected from Paris-Roubaix, a terminal incident with a bird while out riding, or explaining why he is standing stark naked on Belgian cobbles with a tyre in his hand, Wilfried unlocks a sport that involves so much pain, punishment, and a high probability of failure, but that will always liberate and inspire us.
The first Tour de France in 1903 was a colourful affair full of adventure, mishaps and audacious attempts at cheating. 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.
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 dreamed up to revive struggling newspaper L'Auto, 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.
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.
Why do road cyclists go to the mountains? Many books tell you where the mountains are, or how long and how high. None of them ask ‘Why?’
After all, cycling up a mountain is hard – so hard that, to many non-cyclists, it can seem absurd. But, for some, climbing a mountain gracefully (and beating your competitors up the slope) represents the pinnacle of cycling achievement. The mountains are where legends are forged and cycling’s greats make their names.
Why are Europe’s mountain ranges professional cycling’s Wembley Stadium or its Colosseum? Why do amateurs also make a pilgrimage to these high, remote roads and what do we see and feel when we do?
Why are the roads there in the first place?
Higher Calling explores the central place of mountains in the folklore of road cycling. Blending adventure and travel writing with the rich narrative of pro racing, Max Leonard takes the reader from the battles that created the Alpine roads to the shepherds tending their flocks on the peaks, and to a Grand Tour climax on the ‘highest road in Europe’. And he tells stories of courage and sacrifice, war and love, obsession and elephants along the way.
'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.