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How I Won the Yellow Jumper: Dispatches from the Tour de France [Paperback]

Ned Boulting
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (93 customer reviews)
RRP: 12.99
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Book Description

2 Jun 2011

'Paris, 4 July 2003: My first Tour de France. I had never seen a bike race. I had only vaguely heard of Lance Armstrong. I had no idea what I was doing there. Yet, that day I was broadcasting live on television. I fumbled my way through a few platitudes, before summing up with the words, "...Dave Millar just missing out on the Yellow Jumper." Yes, the Yellow Jumper.'

Follow Ned Boulting's (occasionally excruciating) experiences covering the world's most famous two-wheeled race. His story offers an insider's view of life behind the scenes of the Tour, as well as detailing the complexities and absurdities of reporting on the race and confronting the most celebrated riders - Cavendish, Wiggins, Armstrong et al - seconds after they cross the line.

Eight Tours on from Ned's humbling debut, he has grown to respect, mock, adore and crave the race in equal measure. What's more, he has even started to understand it.

Funny and frank, How I Won the Yellow Jumper is the account of Ned's journey - that same journey undertaken by many tens of thousands of cycling enthusiasts - from tour trainee to incurable fanatic.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Yellow Jersey (2 Jun 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 022408335X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0224083355
  • Product Dimensions: 2.5 x 13.3 x 21.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (93 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 117,284 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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"A candid, insightful and often hilarious account of how a one-off assignment became a lifetime obsession. Anyone who likes France, cycling, media coverage of sport, obsessives and above all the magic that is the Tour de France will enjoy this book" (Alastair Campbell)

"I thought Ned was an old hand at the Tour. Evidently he was clueless ... Told with panache" (David Millar)

"Lifts the lid on the dirty secrets, the secret shame, the flabby, overhanging underbelly of British TV coverage of the Tour de France. At last, a book about the Tour that's just plain fun" (Matt Rendell)

"Quirky, warped, enthusiastic and funny" (Chris Boardman)

"The Tour de France has inspired some brilliant writing over the years, and this book is right up there" (Adrian Chiles)

Book Description

A funny and frank account of falling in love with the Tour de France by television's quintessential roving reporter, Ned Boulting

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
29 of 29 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Other broadcasters please note 10 Jun 2011
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Ned (or is it Nick?) has become one of the voices of summer in our household as we follow the Tour de France avidly from the safety of our armchairs. This book isn't just about Ned's broadcasting, it's not a history of the last few years of the Tour, and it's not even about cycling, it's about the trials and tribulations of having to work in closely confined spaces, hotel foyers, chasing down the road after that killer interview, watching what you eat and how to deal with socks that have been rotting in a suitcase for three weeks. It's a slice of a surreal comedy played out in some of the most spectacular scenery in Europe, or indeed from some sports hall on an industrial estate. It's the grime behind the skirting board and the hard work that goes into making what appears to be seamless programming. It's a self-efacing gently humerous look at the madness of the Tour circus at least from the TV journalists' point of view. I'll look forward to this years instalment with more expectation than usual this year and with more understanding of what has gone on behind the scenes to get the action onto our screens.

Top notch entertainment all round
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45 of 46 people found the following review helpful
By tsl04
It took Ned Boulting two decades to graduate from commenting on potholes on Chiltern FM to reporting about the `yellow jumper' at the Tour de France. He has come a long way since those early days as a drowning Tour ingénue, and now knows everything there is to know about French service stations, cheap hotels and which yogurt-based drinks to avoid.

He has also learned a bit about cycling too. `How I Won The Yellow Jumper' is his story of the grind behind the glamour of covering cycling's biggest race. It is a tale of one man, a suitcase full of smelly socks and his noble steed, a battered Renault Espace, on an annual three-week odyssey from Grand Départ to Bedraggled Arrivée.

If you watch ITV's annual Tour coverage, you will be familiar with Boulting's dry style as he brings us short feature segments and gleans reactions from exhausted pedallers in the post-stage media melée in which pointy elbows and a willingness to stick your nose in where angels fear to tread are as vital tools of the trade as the ability to mangle a variety of European languages.

He is to Gary Imlach, ITV's inimitable and unfeasibly polished front-man, what Jens Voigt is to Andy Schleck. In his deceptively imitable every-man style, Boulting has carved out a niche as the team's super-domestique. He plays a vital role, putting in the hard kilometres that help make ITV's coverage so enjoyable.

Here Boulting conveys the real beauty of the Tour and why he has fallen in love with its utter lunacy. It is not about the stars who make the headlines, or the Alpine backdrops or the race's unerring capacity for human drama.
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic Fun 3 Jun 2011
Cycling is a slightly bizarre sport I guess, and this is a wonderfully funny and frank account of the extraordinary bike race that is the Tour de France.

Ned takes us from his first painful experiences as a bumbling, novice cycling reporter, through his love affair with the event, confronting the major issues on the way; drug scandals, Armstrong, finding launderettes on rest days, and just what the conversational etiquette should be when urinating in the open air.

This book is hugely accessible, the sport's serious and sometimes murky side is confronted properly, but before too long the narrative gently carries us off to slightly lighter concerns, like trying to pack a hot iron. Ned encounters the big names of the sport, and gives us the insiders view. We see his development alongside theirs, as well as meeting some of the more fascinating characters who keep the race ticking along, like Rudi the toilette tsar.

I really enjoyed this book from start to finish, the sort of book you don't want to rush, but that you read in the garden with a huge grin on your face. When I reached the end, not only was I laughing quite loudly in embarrassing fashion, but I also felt quite sad that Ned Boulting's insider account of eight years on tour was over. Superb.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fun insight into the delights of the Tour 21 July 2011
By readie
Format:Kindle Edition
I have to admit that, as a follower of the Tour de France since 1987, I was initially somewhat irritated by Ned Boulting's appearance on ITV's coverage of the race. Part of this was envy. How come some football reporter got the chance to follow the race at close quarters for three weeks? Especially when Tour-loving me only got the chance to stand in a scrum at the roadside for a few stages and then and follow the rest on the telly? Not fair.

It is to Boulting's credit, then, that this book comes far closer than most to explaining just why I love the Tour so much. By confessing his initial ignorance of the event, and showing how he has been seduced by it, Boulting sheds light on the many delights of this three week moving party.

Yes, some parts did still grate with the long-term TDF geek that is me - hey, Ned, if you don't want all the Tour freebies you get I'll have 'em! But this really is a minor gripe and, in any case, the author confesses that the book is best suited to those who, like him, are relatively new converts to the race.

All in all, highly recommended.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Funny and brilliant from start to finish
loved it very insightful into the world of sports media. funny, touching and well written. anyone who likes cycling will love this book
Published 1 day ago by ian hall
4.0 out of 5 stars I liked the content but found it a bit disjointed.
I liked the contents and found the views interesting and amusing but I also thought that the book did not flow easily and was a bit disjointed.
Published 26 days ago by John Tolhurst
5.0 out of 5 stars Great insight from a Tour insider
Ned Boulting came late to cycling, from the world of football journalism, and consequently brings an outsider's wry perspective to the greatest sporting show on earth. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Bingojesus
5.0 out of 5 stars Awesome insight, fantastic writing
I was absolutely riveted to this book. I'm a huge Tour fan anyway, which I think helped, but I found it so interesting, so many different opinions that you don't get to hear about... Read more
Published 2 months ago by Karen
4.0 out of 5 stars Joyfully light hearted
This is a lovely amble through Tour de France life and from cycling novice to enthusiasts. Perfect light reading for a holiday. Perfect to put down and come back to. Read more
Published 5 months ago by Gareth
4.0 out of 5 stars Very Entertaining Read
I've been an avid follower of the Tour de France for many years and I really enjoyed hearing more about events I remember seeing on TV broadcasts from Ned's "behind-the-scenes"... Read more
Published 5 months ago by Jane
2.0 out of 5 stars Dull.
Quite how this book has so many 5 star reviews is anyones guess. Presumably these people haven't read many 'proper' books written by proper authors, like. Read more
Published 5 months ago by Natwest Visa
4.0 out of 5 stars Very Enjoyable
Ned Boulting's entertaining pieces to camera are something I look forward to every July. This book is no less entertaining and gives an insight into the relationship between the... Read more
Published 6 months ago by Crazyuncle
4.0 out of 5 stars Very funny and informative
I really enjoyed this book, I just wish it lasted longer!!! I took it on holiday and very quickly became addicted to it. Read more
Published 6 months ago by Michael
4.0 out of 5 stars Very entertaining
This is a highly readable supplement to the recent surge in TdF and cycling books. For those who remember recent Tours, this gives an entertaining account from behind-the-scenes... Read more
Published 7 months ago by Simon Stevens
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