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Shadows on the Road: Life at the Heart of the Peloton, from US Postal to Team Sky [Kindle Edition]

Michael Barry
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (58 customer reviews)

Print List Price: £17.99
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Book Description

In 2012, veteran cyclist Michael Barry announced his retirement from the sport after riding for several top professional teams, including US Postal and Team Sky. Weeks later he testified against his former team mate Lance Armstrong, as part of the USADA investigation. In a stunning piece of writing, Barry explores the dreams and passion of a young, idealistic cycling fan from Toronto, what it was like to go on to ride as a teammate alongside such giants of the sport as Lance Armstrong, Mark Cavendish, Bradley Wiggins and Chris Froome, and how those dreams were compromised early on in his career by a sport in crisis.

But it is also the story of his eleven years riding clean, before and after his time in the notorious US Postal Team. What was it like to head for Europe at such a young age, and what was it like to escape the environment of doping, to try and start again, all the time aware that past actions may one day catch up with him? Offering a unique and elegiac insight into the life and mind of a professional sportsman - the pressures, sacrifices, fears, crashes, injuries and neuroses - Shadows on the Road: Life at the Heart of the Peloton, from US Postal to Team Sky is a must-read for cycling and sports fans alike.

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An instant classic, a poignant voyage through Barry's love for cycling and the turmoil he lived through because of it. (DAVID MILLAR, author of RACING THROUGH THE DARK)

'That Barry rode on the US Postal/Discovery between 2002-06 will be the reason why many buy this terrific autobiography. But while it doesn't ignore doping, it's by no means a focus. The book excels in Barry's often melancholic account of his journey through the world of pro-cycling. The sport has rarely sounded more painful and ruthless as it does through these 272 pages.' (Pro Cycling)

'An essential read. His account of riding in Team Sky, back to racing alongside Lance Armstrong and the dark days of doping, is a long way from the usual dry sporting biographies.' (Shortlist)

[Barry's] a fine writer and his descriptions of training rides outside Girona and the sheer joy of riding a bike competitively when things are going well are as elegiac as anything I've read on cycle racing. (

Book Description

In Shadows on the Road, Michael Barry explores the dreams and passions of cycling in this beautiful, moving and controversial account of life at the heart of the Peloton, from US Postal to Team Sky.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Glimpses of insight but unfocused 5 May 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
The book is an account of MBs life as an amateur and professional cyclist depicting various scenes and periods from his professional and personal life in a non-chronological order. The book is not co-authored by a professional writer which has its' advantages and disadvantages.
MB writes quite fluently and at times almost poeticly. The book is a good account of the everyday life of a pro cyclist adeptly describing the mindset of the pro athlete. MB doesn't spare himself but he rarely gets close to other athletes so don't expect too many juicy details on doping, other pros or detiled race descriptions. The most 'interesting' disclosurez (the Ronde van Vllandern incident of 2006) have already been leaked.
The non-chronological timeline works out most of the time but makes the story stand out a bot unfocused at times.
Buy the bolk if you want an account of a non-controversial, well mannered and likeable cyclist, and a Rough Ride light. If you're looking for juicy revelations a la Massacre a la chaine or The Secret Race, look elsewhere.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars superbly written and v sad 7 May 2014
By Will
Michael Barry's book is a great insider's account of what lies behind the cycling headlines. He was there and here he tries to come to terms with everything that happened in his long career, good and bad. One of the best sports memoirs i've ever read, up there with Cascarino's FULL TIME in terms of how much it reveals about the complex psychology of actually being a pro sportsman. Very good indeed.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars shadows of the road 9 Jun. 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Wrote with considerable thought and insight into hopefully the end of a dark era in cycling. Unlike some cycling auto's this is interesting and full of real depth all the way though. Brilliant.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Airbrush autobiography 5 Jan. 2015
By steve
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Interesting but lightweight read. Doesn't give a lot of details, more a skip through his career and a view of how he just wanted to ride his bike. Doesn't dwell on any of the difficulties around the drugs. If I'm being harsh just an attempt at airbrushing over why he took drugs and impact on his career. If he was a bit more direct I would have more sympathy, as I do for many of the others entwined in an almost impossible situation facing drugs or being non competitive
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3.0 out of 5 stars A great read- I think! 30 May 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
First off, this is an extremely well written book by an author who enjoys conjuring up evocative and luxuriant passages. I also think we do get a good glimpse into his drives and personality.
Now that is all well and good but if her were not an ex-professional cyclist who had raced alongside Armstrong, Cavendish and Wiggins then I doubt any of us would have been interested in his story. And this is where the flaw perhaps lies.
He is a very intelligent and reflective individual and I just wish he had turned that focus a little more outward. He does do this at times and it is these parts of the book, the brief glimpse into a once corrupt and currently conflicted world that made me read on, but I was left wanting more.
Would I recommend it, yes but I think you get a much better insight into the crazy personal conflicts and battles of the super domestique can be found in the recent book by Charlie Wegelius, that is a really brilliant read. For understanding the peloton and its crazy days, well that’s a book I think is still waiting to be written, though I have yet to read the contribution of the once maligned Christophe Bassons.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Really enjoyed 10 Jan. 2015
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Read this prior to Hincapies, Loyal Lieutenant, which did not get 4 stars!! I suppose they had different objectives. Eitherway a straight to the point account of a professional and his bike. But I suppose like most enthusiasts we contine to seek answers, perhaps to questions we haven't quite structured well enough to be satisfied from within any books subtext
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A good read 1 Jan. 2015
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
A good read but I would have liked to hear more about the doping. It gets mentioned and then the author moves on very quickly.

Also the chronology is a bit muddled and at times it is unclear where or when we are. However still an interesting account of how a high profile rider goes from childhood to doping and then riding clean.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful Read 31 Aug. 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Cracking read. Flowing prose with a constant undertone of tension as Barry works his way through life both on and off the bike. Less self congratulatory than some out there and not as dark as others such as Miller (with whom he rides for fun). I enjoyed this book very much.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Good read
Good honest account of a popular topic, told it how it was. Interesting to hear his thoughts on how the peloton is changing.
Published 4 hours ago by Mike
5.0 out of 5 stars A good read for anyone who loves cycling.
A really good insight into Michael Barry's training,the peloton and coping with injuries.
Published 5 days ago by Stevie Boy
1.0 out of 5 stars Stinker
Awful. Like a piece of GCSE coursework.
Published 5 months ago by Simon Stoddart
4.0 out of 5 stars Not just the heart but the head.
Great read giving a fantastic insight into the head of a top pro rider and the team's overriding need for results
Published 5 months ago by Vincent Gregory
4.0 out of 5 stars Great read
Very open account of the life of a pro bike rider, competing in the tail end of the lance Armstrong era. Great to gain a small insight into post pro life.
Published 6 months ago by Mr D Pembroke
2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing
I bought this because I was interested in Michael Barry's Armstrong/Team Sky connections. Unfortunately there was little in the book about either, and rather too much wordy... Read more
Published 6 months ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars True insight
Was recommended this book, a great insight into the world of pro cycling, a corrupted sport which thankfully is on the change, also the incredible dedication all cyclist in the... Read more
Published 6 months ago by Matt
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Published 6 months ago by Pete Wordsmith
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Enjoyable read
Published 7 months ago by Amazon Customer
3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting but light on anecdotes and gritty real info.
Could have lifted the lid on all the goings on in the pro peloton but aside from a few details we already knew not really much there. Read more
Published 7 months ago by David Martin
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