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Heroes, Villains and Velodromes: Chris Hoy and Britain's Track Cycling Revolution [Hardcover]

Richard Moore
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)

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Book Description

15 Sep 2008

As the first Briton for 100 years to win three gold medals in one Olympic Games, Scottish track cyclist Chris Hoy has rewritten the record books. Critically acclaimed writer Richard Moore shadows Hoy throughout the current season – fully updated with events in Beijing – to provide an unprecedented insight into the secret world of track cycling.

Heroes, Villains and Velodromes reveals how an elite athlete, Chris Hoy, lives, breathes and pushes the boundaries of his sport. How does he do it? And why? What drives him to put his body through the physical and mental hurdles to become the best in the world? And what is it like to be Olympic champion, astonishingly in three different cycling disciplines?

This is also the story of an extraordinary year in the life of an extraordinary sportsman and his team, one which started with his best-ever world championships in Mallorca – where, for the first time in his career, Hoy became a double world champion – continued with his attempt on the world kilometre record in La Paz, Bolivia and two gold medals at the 2008 world championships in Manchester, before a glorious climax with seven golds for Hoy and the British track cycling team at the Beijing Olympics.

By shadowing Hoy through a season, author Richard Moore has gained an unembellished insight into the mind of a World and Olympic champion. He has also attained unprecedented levels of access to the key members of the all-conquering British team and support staff, including top coaches, world-renowned psychiatrists, doctors (where the subject of drug abuse is an ever-present shadow) and the pivotal characters behind the scenes.

Combining his forensic knowledge of the cycling world with his acclaimed skills as a tenacious investigative journalist, Moore captures the mood of the British team and explores an area of professional sport that has rarely been seen before.

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: HarperSport; First Edition edition (15 Sep 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 000726531X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0007265312
  • Product Dimensions: 14.1 x 3 x 22.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 382,341 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


‘This is an absolutely must-read book…Moore has cleverly used the very cogent words of others to paint a picture of real characters within a new order’ Graham Obree, Scotsman

‘A cracking story…I couldn’t put it down’ Hugh Porter, BBC cycling commentator

‘Like its hero, this book is the real McHoy.’ Scotland on Sunday

‘An excellent book’. The Sunday Times

‘…an inspiring tale. And in Richard Moore it has a splendid chronicler.’ Independent on Sunday

‘This is a must-read book that tells a story that had to be told.’ The Scotsman

‘…a gripping inside story of how Team GB’s cyclists rode to glory.’
Independent on Sunday

From the Author


This is the story of Chris Hoy, Olympic, world and Commonwealth champion - arguably Britain's greatest ever track cyclist - and the evolution of the world-beating team of which he is such an integral part.


That is a good question. Just how did Chris Hoy, who was first inspired to race bikes by the BMX `chase' scene in the film ET, go on to become one of the all-time greats?

One word: persistence.

Hoy tried everything: he raced BMX for years, then mountain bikes... then he dabbled in road racing and time trialling, while also playing rugby (captaining Edinburgh schools) and rowing (and winning a silver medal in the British schools' championship)... when he eventually tried track cycling, though it was obvious that this was the sport to which he was best suited, few would have predicted how good he would become...

Hoy was fortunate to emerge when he did. In 1997 British Cycling won the lottery. Like other sports, it received a cash windfall from the new National Lottery - but cycling arguably put it to better use than other sports, establishing a programme that would propel Britain's cyclists from zeros to heroes - from being the laughing stock of world cycling to the leading superpower.

By the 2008 world championships, in Manchester, Britain had become the world's top track cycling nation. And a key figure in this revolution has been Chris Hoy.

Heroes, Villains & Velodromes tells the story of Chris Hoy's years as a budding BMX-er, mountain biker and road cyclist... and his early career as a track cyclist.

It also tells the story of the British track cycling revolution - who was behind it, who is involved today and what makes them so good - including the secret development of cutting-edge equipment, the equipment `arms race' that goes on between teams, and the psychological warfare of international track cycling.

It is a story of sporting success, skulduggery, suspicions of systematic doping, psychiatry (the British team employ a clinical psychiatrist whose previous work was in a high security hospital)... and of heroes, villains and velodromes.

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Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
4.5 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
32 of 33 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A gold medal winning book! 9 Jun 2008
Richard Moore has done it again, following on from the Robert Millar book, Richard has produced a book that is surely going to win as many awards as Chris Hoy has won world championships! As well as providing an insight into one of the last decades most successful sportsmen it also provides previously unknown information of how British Cycling turned itself around from one of the most underfunded and unsuccessful sporting organisations to be the envy of sporting associations across the world, one where even the Aussies want to copy us! Richard has had unprecedented access to Hoy during his 1km world record attempt in La Paz, Bolivia and throughout the year to the amazing Manchester world cycling championships where Hoy won the men`s world sprint championship at his first attempt, ending a 54 year drought in the blue riband event of track cycling. More than anything the incredible support that the Hoy family as a whole have provided Chris, is written about with affection, and you are left with a feeling that even though Chris does the pedalling it really has been a team effort to produce " Chris Hoy the Real McHoy." Richard Moore is surely becoming one of the most entertaining and investigative sports writers of this century. Buy this book if you want to know what makes an Olympic champion tick.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Inspiring 10 Jun 2008
The story of Chris Hoy - and Craig McClean and other trackies - is told in Richard Moore's new book. It's an inspiring read, especially when you discover about the pathetic state British Cycling was in in the mid-90s.

This book will whet your appetite for the Beijing Olympics, and give you confidence that Team GB are in wonderful hands.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Well researched, excellent read 7 Aug 2008
By Z. Tuck
Heroes, Villains and Velodromes is an excellent read and was obviously very well researched.
I particularly enjoyed all the facts and figures. For example; Bolivia having the longest runway in the world,Chris Hoy's winning margin of five hundredths of a second equating to 2.3cm.
A excellent profile on Chris and all concerned with his success.
Perfectly explained even to someone who is not of the cycling fraternity and I would recommend it to cycling fans and newcomers alike. Well done to the author on this account alone.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic!! 30 Aug 2008
Like so many people in the country I was blown away by the success of the recent Olympics in Beijing, but especially by the amazing performances of the GB cycling team. So when i noticed "Heroes, Villains & Velodromes" on the shelf of my local book shop I thought I'd give it a try. I wasn't sure what to expect really but what i got was a lively, entertaining and extremely well written read about the revolution in british cycling and Hoy's part in it over the last ten years. As Moore says in his comments it's not nessecarily a story just about Chris Hoy but he is the principal character and 'star of the show'
Hoy comes across a phenomenal athlete, ferocious competitor but also a genuinely nice guy who's dedicates hiimself completely to his sport, not for the money but for the thrill of winning and being a champion.
In today's money obsessed world of sport where even the most mediocre of premiership footballers can earn a small fortune, that is something truly awe-inspiring.
As one reviewer said there will probably be a re-release or additional chapters added to the paperback version to cover events in Beijing which you might want to wait for. However i would say that this insightful, well researched and engaging book is definitely worth buying.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good Review of GB Cycling Zeroes to Heroes 31 Mar 2010
Very good book covering the complete development of the GB Cycling team from almost nothing to the world class team we see today. Hoy naturally is a major player in the book but its a story containing him rather than one about him. This actually adds rather than detracts from the overall book and I suspect from what I've read about Hoy this would suit the man himself down to the ground.

I read the book over the same weekend as the 2010 Cycling World Championships in Copenhagen and it was fascinating to be reading about the personalities who were all playing major parts in the on-screen drama. A good book and written in an open and very readable format with lots of interesting background facts and insights.

Hoy comes across as an amazing talent who works hard at his craft and is supremely dedicated, its this that makes him attractive as a character in that he works hard for what he gets. As a person you clearly could not look for a better role model in a sportsman.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An insight to a hidden world 13 Feb 2009
By TimB
An excellent book covering the development of British track cycling with a focus on Chris Hoy, of course. Very readable, I found it hard to put down. Other sports could learn a great deal from the planning, development and teamwork of British Cycling to become a world beater.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great Read 27 Aug 2008
This book is a great look into the history and story behind one of Britain's most impressive athletes. The book isn't just about a variety of topics Hoy, but covers a range of issues around track cycling and the changes that have happened in British sport. Moore writes in a very engaging way and uses a range of styles that keep the book interesting.
Only 4 stars for two reasons.
1. Given his recent Olympic Haul there's bound to be a re-release with an added chapter so you might want to wait for that.
2. The book doesn't really delve into Hoy's relationship with other cyclists especially the other stars on the British team like Wiggins, I would have been interested to hear more about the interactions between the various disciplines within track cycling.
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