What is it like to be swept along at 60kmh in the middle of the pack? What happens to the body during a high-speed chute? What tactics must teams employ to win the day, the jersey, the grand tour? What sacrifices must a cyclist make to reach the highest levels? What is it like on the bus? In the hotels? What camaraderie is built in the confines of a team? What rivalries? How does it feel to be constantly on the road, away from loved ones, tasting one more calorie-counted hotel breakfast?
David Millar offers us a unique insight into the mind of a professional cyclist during his last year before retirement. Over the course of a season on the World Tour, Millar puts us in touch with the sights, smells and sounds of the sport. This is a book about youth and age, fresh-faced excitement and hard-earned experience. It is a love letter to cycling.
'Cycling has always been about a great deal more than its winners, and The Racer is quite a ride' Spectator
‘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.
How the Race Was Won investigates the fine details of bicycle racing through extensive interviews with the sport’s brightest minds. Author Peter Cossins has interrogated the riders, managers, and directors who have shaped the sport, and reveals how they learned to navigate the invisible undercurrent that sweeps their riders to the finish line.
From the moment when George Pilkington Mills was paced to victory by a wily teammate in the 1891 edition of Bordeaux–Paris to Chris Froome’s modern emphasis on marginal gains, How the Race Was Won embraces the full sweep of cycling history, making stops along the way to analyze how tactics first evolved and how today’s winning minds continue to build on what came before.
Behind every great cyclist is a race wizard reading the race, watching the rivals, outwitting the competition, and anticipating the one perfect moment to launch a rider to victory. How the Race Was Won is a thrilling and unprecedented look at how victory is won, how rivals are vanquished, and how pure speed can only prevail when supported by deep brainpower.