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Sean Yates: It's All About the Bike: My Autobiography Hardcover – 12 Sep 2013

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Bantam Press (12 Sept. 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 059307193X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0593071939
  • Product Dimensions: 16.2 x 2.7 x 24.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (74 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 55,014 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


"A candid and unflinching account of his three decades in the sport, of interest to anyone who has followed his long and fruitful career. Yates is not afraid to pull punches throughout this autobiography and you have to admire his honesty... refreshingly far removed from what we have grown used to in many similar releases." (Sky Sports, Cycling Books of the Year)

"Brilliant. This is, in many ways, an old-fashioned book chronicling the transformation of a cycling-mad kid from West Sussex into possibly the most respected domestique in the peloton, who also claimed a famous time-trial stage victory of the Tour de France in 1988 and wore the yellow jersey for a day in 1994. This book does full credit to an outstanding career." (Brendan Gallagher Sweetspot Cycling Book of the Year shortlist nomination)

"A very good read... one of those rare well written cycling autobiographies that engages the reader... better by far than the other recent autobiographies that could be filed under 'British Cycling and My Role in Its Rise to Glory'. The whole thing has a charming, casual air about it, like a couple of old mates sitting down over a pint and reminiscing about the past. It's nice to be reminded why Yates used to be such a legend." (Podium Café)

"Sean Yates is the real deal - tremendous determination, talent and commitment - the classic hard man from that era. In a way reading the book made me glad I didn't become a pro cyclist." (Cycling Uphill)

"For years Sean Yates was by far and away the most successful British rider in the Tour de France since Tommy Simpson. Then came Cavendish, Froome and most of all Wiggins. After retiring from racing Sean Yates was to become Team Sky's Race Director and a figure central to Wiggins' 2012 Tour victory. A great and revealing book." (Mark Perryman Philosophy Football, autumn sports books review)

Book Description

The sensational autobiography of the British cycling legend and architect of Bradley Wiggins's Tour de France triumph.

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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By G. Daniels on 13 Oct. 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
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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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By mr s everington on 31 Oct. 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
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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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By R H on 18 July 2014
Format: Paperback
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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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By catherine on 24 Oct. 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
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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