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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on 13 October 2013
There is more to Sean Yates than the last three years of his career with Team Sky. This book follows his life from unconventional upbringing in Sussex, as elite time triallist and champion, professional road cyclist and successful directeur sportif. Guilty by association in his eyes, he lost his job through being hired simultaneously by the team that nurtured Lance Armstrong. This in response to Sky's policy, applied retrospectively, of not retaining any staff that had been tainted by association with performance enhancing drugs. Yates felt let down and particularly so when Sky, complacently, took several days to release an agreed press statement on the background to his departure.

The challenge of conflating a lengthy sporting life in to 300 pages seems to have been cathartic. He doesn't spare himself from exposing the personal conflicts in his life. For example, he addresses his own health issues candidly together with a strained and ultimately doomed marriage yet retains a touching dependence on his former wife.

Anecdotes abound that turn around the topsy-turvy years with Peugeot before gaining stability and status in the peloton. A manic trainer, tireless racer and general obsessive, vignettes of his career and the personalities and events that flecked his journey flow with wit and self-deprecation.

He remains fond of, and loyal to, Lance Armstrong, a friendship that endures. However, a selective view of his doping and other activities is difficult to accommodate and this contact led to his premature retirement from Team Sky.

Sean Yates emerges as a complicated character, driven, sometimes indiscreet and often insensitive to those nearest him. Nonetheless, professional cycling is the poorer without his presence.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on 18 July 2014
An interesting and surprisingly well written run through the career of one of my teenage heroes - I used to love watching him at the TdF on the box when I was younger, so good to read about his exploits.
He rightly increases the focus back 'on the bike', with detailed recollections of training, racing & rivalries but you feel there's a fair bit unwritten on the drug issue. For someone who's been at the top end of the sport for a long time during the 'drug years' - as both a pro rider and team staffer, you feel he could have added some useful insights, if only to put in context some of what has been written, although he rightly says he has a no intention of naming names & places.
I fell out of love with the sport after the 1998 Festina drugs affair at the TdF, which was a seismic event at the time - a long held suspicion was suddenly and very publicly laid bare, and spoken of (at the time) as being a 'turning point' for drugs in cycling - how wrong that was. Some words on this and subsequent events is surely hard to ignore for someone who had a grandstand view of the action.

It's interesting to consider why some of the personalities who have loomed large on the bike scene during his career are not mentioned among the contributors, or provided recollections.

I'd agree with his summary of the drug issue, that it's impossible to unpick its complexity in retrospect, and that to scapegoat a select few is unfair - more discussion of what has been discovered of the sports sordid history, and his thoughts on it would have been welcome. His approach of glossing over the (known) drug related back story of some of the sports memorable moments is a bit odd too.

Nonetheless, drug issues aside, there was a lot of stuff about the bike, and it quite often had me laughing out loud - very readable - recommended!
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on 31 October 2013
Not much about Armstrong, even though he helped shape the Americans early career, he seems almost embarrassed by Armstrong, hardly mentions his dealings with the management in later teams, barely mentions Riis and Bruyneel thought he could have expanded on the daily dealings with sky during the tour. It was not what he wrote but what he left out, he tried not to get political but he is a victim of the Armstrong era as well, I would have liked to see him fight his corner over his reputation a little more instead of leaving it to others to defend him. A good insight into the life of an ex pro but he could have given so much more in terms of the era he was apart of.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 24 October 2014
I really enjoyed this book. I hadn't previously known much about Sean Yates as a cyclist, only as a DS at Team Sky, so it was really interesting to find out about the earlier part of his career. The book is written in a very natural and readable way, as if you were just having a conversation with him, but what I really liked were the sections where his ex-wife and his friends, colleagues and acquaintances were given free rein to give their own opinions of Yates. It's a very unusual format, but it really worked, showing you the man through different pairs of eyes and from different perspectives. The book has virtually nothing to say about the doping culture which seems to have been widespread throughout Yates' time in the peloton, and he is obviously still very fond of Lance Armstrong and feels he has been unfairly scapegoated. If you don't expect a kiss-and-tell about who was taking what PED and when they took it, you will find this a very entertaining and easy to read book.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 27 April 2015
Very few positives from this book, the only one that springs to mind is the fact that it's about a British TT legend. There it ends I'm afraid the biography lacks any credibility or integrity, this is mainly due to his refusal to disclose any of the doping side of cycling which is the elephant in the room/book when you consider that he rode at a time when it was becoming epidemic within the professional peleton. He also rode for Motorola when it is now widely known that the whole team doped extensively. The fact that Yates, Brian Smith and Bjorn Stenersen all had heart attacks two of them fatal, begs the question would they have enjoyed a healthier, longer life, if they had been in a Heavy Rock Band!..........
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 22 October 2013
Enjoyed this trip through Yate's cycling history. The book brings out the way Yates' personality is reflected in the way he performs on the bike - tough, dogged and driven - a competition against himself as much as it was against fellow cyclists. There is nothing particularly revealing or dramatic about the book, yet it doesn't suffer for this. You are left feeling a twinge of sadness at the way his career ended, yet pleased that cycling has given him a life full of interest and achievement.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 18 September 2013
great read arrived yesterday and couldn't put it down great value for money as well would recommend it too anyone
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on 19 September 2013
A really good autobiography. He doesn't just pick out the successful and nice bits about himself. While the "tone of voice" of the book is easy going and he seems laid back, I think Sean is actually a big, powerful, assertive personality - the childhood friend who he later finds out was made quite miserable, the straight to the point section his ex wife wrote*, his race director role at Sky etc.

I didn't know much (anything) about Sean prior to this book. In a nutshell he's had a proper pro cycling career (he wore yellow) and then a proper pro cycling management career until he got binned in and among the Sky zero tolerance purges despite no proof or admission. It is a shame to throw away all that experience. He doesn't really go into much detail about this nor how he feels about it but he's clearly left in a "erm. what now ?" state.

The beauty of this book is its timespan which takes us - without any self aggrandisement - on a journey from the local UK time trial scene in the 70's to pro racing in the 80's and 90's and then managing pro teams from the late 90's right up to the 2012 TDF with Sky. (Yes Froome did ski off piste up that mountain, yes Brad is a bit temperamental, no Cavendish was not always happy).

However, thankfully, it's not a gossipy book, the drugs issue is not addressed (good, enough already) nor is much time spent on ex team mate Armstrong so there is no feeling of someone having cashed in by eeking out an otherwise paltry history by piggy backing of the newsworthyness of others. Which he could have done given he's been at the heart of cycling for 30 years, riding for or managing teams like Motorola, CSC, Astana, Discovery, 7-Eleven and Sky. But Sean Yates simply doesn't need to : he's premier league himself and has more than enough of his own exploits and stories. Although I am not left thinking oh what a lovely man, I am glad to know more about him.

*genius! All bios should do this because (providing they are not malicious) no-one else sees us so clearly. Brave.
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on 28 November 2013
Unfortunately I recently had an accident was knocked of my bike and suffered a broken leg as a consequence reading is one of the few things I can presently do. This book is a great read if you're a cyclist like me of the era when Sean Yates was at his peak. It gives a great insight into the man himself but also about the mind set required to reach this sort of level in not only cycling but any sport. There's always a price to pay for single minded focus to one end in life, both positive and negative, which are revealed in the book. A great read to those of us that have followed that path and highly informative to those who may just be setting out on it.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 30 October 2013
Found it hard to get into then it did pick up but not as much as I would have liked. I was going he was going to open up more about his relationship with Team Sky and that decision to walk.
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