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Old 08-20-13, 11:47 AM   #1
totalnewbie
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can you recommend good books on pro racing?

read tim krabbe's "the rider" and really like it. looking for recommendations for other books on pro racing.

I am looking for more readings - not technical manuals or training guides but more of non-fiction that has a strong narrative that will help a layman understand more about the culture of pro racing, could be on how pro teams are organized, how racing strategies are formed, etc. I was interested in Charley Wegelius "Domestique" but could not find that book this part of the world and it's not available in kindle format here. also heard that "Belgian Hammer" could be interesting (but it got mixed reviews on amazon.)

big plus if the books are available in kindle version.
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Old 08-20-13, 01:36 PM   #2
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Paul Kimmage's "Rough Ride" is a pretty good '80s account from the perspective of a struggling support rider. No strategy involved in this one though. Just a readable personal account.
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Old 08-20-13, 02:04 PM   #3
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Dog In a Hat is a great one.

The follow up book isn't as good though.
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Old 08-21-13, 12:55 AM   #4
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thanks. just bought both and started reading.
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Old 08-21-13, 06:55 AM   #5
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Hell on Two Wheels is good also. Story about the RAAM. I loved it. Definatley peaked my interest in the race.
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Old 08-21-13, 08:06 AM   #6
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this is a bit of a tangent, so forgive me, but if youre interested in accounts of life as a pro, mike creed's new podcast "open mic with mike creed" is really fantastic listening. mike is a newly retired pro whos ridden every level from conti to world tour, has an outspoken personality and enjoyed a long career full of great stories. he does long form interviews with colleagues from vaughters to katie compton to neal rogers and more... they're as insightful as anything i've ever heard about the experience of racing bikes for a living.

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Old 08-21-13, 09:50 AM   #7
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this is a bit of a tangent, so forgive me, but if youre interested in accounts of life as a pro, mike creed's new podcast "open mic with mike creed" is really fantastic listening. mike is a newly retired pro whos ridden every level from conti to world tour, has an outspoken personality and enjoyed a long career full of great stories. he does long form interviews with colleagues from vaughters to katie compton to neal rogers and more... they're as insightful as anything i've ever heard about the experience of racing bikes for a living.
Thanks fo that. Will give it a listen.
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Old 08-23-13, 11:56 PM   #8
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Slaying the Badger-About LeMond and Hinaults epic 86 TDF battle
7 Eleven Book
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Old 08-24-13, 06:45 AM   #9
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"Domestique: The True Life Ups and Downs of a Tour Pro."

-Charly Wegelius
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Old 09-09-13, 10:47 AM   #10
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We were young and carefree Laurent Fignon.
Very good book. Being an American and growing up in the Merckx era I was elated when Lemond won his Tdf over Fignon by 8 seconds.
Now after reading the book, I'm much more respectful of Fignon.
Not sure if it was mentioned but Breaking the Chain by Willie Voet is also an excellent book for a look at the
darker side of pro cycling.
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Old 09-10-13, 01:21 AM   #11
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We were young and carefree Laurent Fignon.
Very good book. Being an American and growing up in the Merckx era I was elated when Lemond won his Tdf over Fignon by 8 seconds.
Now after reading the book, I'm much more respectful of Fignon.
Not sure if it was mentioned but Breaking the Chain by Willie Voet is also an excellent book for a look at the
darker side of pro cycling.
Thanks for reminding me about that one. I've taken an interest in Fignon lately and think I'll order it.
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Old 09-10-13, 05:20 AM   #12
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Slaying the Badger-About LeMond and Hinaults epic 86 TDF battle
7 Eleven Book
Both excellent.

La Vie Claire was the best team ever put together. It's a great look (Slaying the Badger) of the inner workings of a top team, and one in turmoil.

Argyle Armada is also good. Even though it looks like a picture book, it's a good read. Great photos. Really good look into a modern cycling team.

Also very good, "A Significant Other" about Victor Hugo Pena. About the 2003 Tour and this was the year that Pena was in yellow because of a snafu in the team time trial. Everyone went nuts because despite being in yellow he still acted as a domestique for Armstrong making the French nuts.
He was once kidnapped just before leaving for the Tour. Interesting look at trying to train in Colombia back in rougher days in that country. Written by Matt Rendell.
rendell also did an excellent book on Pantani.

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Old 09-10-13, 05:26 AM   #13
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Dog In a Hat is a great one.

The follow up book isn't as good though.
Yeah, that was very good. Great look into "espoir" Euro cycling.
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Old 09-10-13, 07:51 AM   #14
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"Kelly" by David Walsh (yes, that David Walsh), a biog of Sean Kelly that was written while the big fella was still active. It doesn't dig too deep into the drugs side (a positive test is brushed aside, and Willy Voet actually came out with the real reason for it years later) but it does tell a lot about the life of a pro cyclist back in the 70s/80s, especially one coming to the continent not speaking a word of the language.
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Old 09-10-13, 10:14 AM   #15
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I read both of the Pantani biographies
The Death of Marco Pantani by Matt Rendell
and Man on the Run – the Life and Death of Marco Pantani by Manuela Ronchi.
The Rendell book is better in my opinion, much more subjective.
Ronchi was too connected to Pantani, she and the book are/were too emotionally tied to him to be
anywhere near objective.
Both are a tragic story about a brilliant career that went wrong and the pressure on Pantani
that he obviously could not handle. Another recommended read.

Marty
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Old 09-10-13, 01:20 PM   #16
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I read both of the Pantani biographies
The Death of Marco Pantani by Matt Rendell
and Man on the Run – the Life and Death of Marco Pantani by Manuela Ronchi.
The Rendell book is better in my opinion, much more subjective.
Ronchi was too connected to Pantani, she and the book are/were too emotionally tied to him to be
anywhere near objective.
Both are a tragic story about a brilliant career that went wrong and the pressure on Pantani
that he obviously could not handle. Another recommended read.

Marty
I agree with you...Rendell's book might be a little dry but it's a top read if you are interested in the Pirate.
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Old 09-11-13, 12:00 PM   #17
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Hi -

Nice thread. Will have to check out a few of these myself. Can vouch for interest of Rough Ride, but allow me to add "Tomorrow We Ride," a lovely book by the brother of Louis Bobet, the first man to win 3 Tours. Author Jean Bobet rode on the same team as his brother and was a cultivated, educated man (he was doing graduate work on, I believe, Hemingway when Louis called him up and asked him to ride), so his book has both an insider's view and a literary tone that not all sports writing does. Lots of good stories from back in the day, some lyrical bits on the joy of cycling and considerable insight into brotherhood and what makes a champion tick. Hard to find, but worth ordering from your local bookstore. Ride (and read) on,

Bob
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Old 09-11-13, 04:52 PM   #18
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I don't know how popular a suggestion it'll be, but I really got a lot out of Tyler Hamilton's book. You could argue there was a bit of "everyone was doing it so we had to, and Lance made us do it too" self-justification, but it really was a revealing book.
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Old 09-12-13, 01:32 AM   #19
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Hi -

Nice thread. Will have to check out a few of these myself. Can vouch for interest of Rough Ride, but allow me to add "Tomorrow We Ride," a lovely book by the brother of Louis Bobet, the first man to win 3 Tours. Author Jean Bobet rode on the same team as his brother and was a cultivated, educated man (he was doing graduate work on, I believe, Hemingway when Louis called him up and asked him to ride), so his book has both an insider's view and a literary tone that not all sports writing does. Lots of good stories from back in the day, some lyrical bits on the joy of cycling and considerable insight into brotherhood and what makes a champion tick. Hard to find, but worth ordering from your local bookstore. Ride (and read) on,

Bob
Thanks for this one. I'm finally finishing up "Sex, Lies and Handlebar Tape" about Jacques Anquetil and since I'm covering the French champions I might as well get this one too. The book about Anquetil is a fair read and it's informative. And I've always liked reading about history's forgotten figures anyway.

(Hint for any boxing fans out there: "The Longest Fight: In the Ring with Joe Gans" is an excellent very readable bit of forgotten and fascinating sports history)

And yeah Hamilton's book was readable and that's all I'd better say about it. The 7-11 team book was good history too but the short part it did on Grewal wasn't fair to him or completely revealing in why he didn't get along there. Nevertheless a must read for anybody appreciating some of the more contemporary pioneers of American cycling.

Speaking of American pioneers of cycling, there are at least three books about Marshall Walter "Major" Taylor and I've promised myself to read at least one of those. If anybody has one of them to recommend I'll read it.

So Fignon, Dog In a Hat, Lemond and Bobet are on my own list.

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Old 09-24-13, 08:32 PM   #20
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Speaking of American pioneers of cycling, there are at least three books about Marshall Walter "Major" Taylor and I've promised myself to read at least one of those. If anybody has one of them to recommend I'll read it.
You also can't go wrong with Davis Phinney's book, pretty good read. A definite "american cycling pioneer" IMO.
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Old 09-25-13, 02:38 PM   #21
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You also can't go wrong with Davis Phinney's book, pretty good read. A definite "american cycling pioneer" IMO.
Yeah I had been passing that one up because I wasn't sure how much focusing on the Parkinson's they did as compared to the glory cycling days. Now that you've recommended it I've gotta check it out.
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Old 11-07-13, 09:48 PM   #22
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got another recommendation from the racing forum:

Reading the Race by Jamie Smith and Chris Horner. Just ordered it on kindle.
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Old 11-08-13, 12:55 PM   #23
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I really liked Rough Ride It is straight forward account and easy to read. I think I read it in 3 days on my kindle. I also liked Breaking the Chain which is also a quick read. Breaking the chain had some funny side stories about the dark side of racing including how he once drove a rider to part of a course to avoid a long climb. Has anyone read Paris Roubaix? I was thinking of reading it next.
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Old 11-09-13, 02:38 PM   #24
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Seen some large format books on race History in Belgium, published in Flemish-Dutch.
while I was visiting there..
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Old 01-12-14, 06:29 PM   #25
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David Miller - racing through the darkness
Tyler Hamilton - The secret race
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