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The Belgian Hammer: Forging Young Americans into Professional Cyclists

The Belgian Hammer: Forging Young Americans into Professional Cyclists [Kindle Edition]

Daniel Lee , George Hincapie
1.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)

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Product Description

Product Description

This is the story of what it takes for young Americans to make it in professional cycling. Only thirty-six Americans have competed in the Tour de France since the world’s greatest bicycle race began in 1903. That’s not too many more than the twelve Americans who have walked on the moon. It’s far fewer than the hundreds of Americans who have reached the summit of Mount Everest.
But rising stars such as Lawson Craddock of Texas, Benjamin King of
Virginia, Taylor Phinney of Colorado, Daniel Holloway of California, and Tyler Farrar of Washington state are doing just that as they endure crashes, cold rain, cobblestones, crosswinds, and culture shock on their road to cycling
stardom, which starts in Belgium.

This is the story of the next generation—of riders not yet tainted by drug scandals, of riders still bursting with hope and potential. This is the story American cycling fans need right now.


“People, get ready for great stories written well. The Belgian Hammer captures cycling culture.”
—Benjamin King, 2010 U.S. Pro Road Racing Champion

“The Belgian Hammer is the unique story of professional cycling that hasn’t yet been told until now. Daniel Lee has revealed the road map for the next generation of Americans hoping to become successful in Europe, where cycling is king.”
—Jim Ochowicz, President/General Manager of the BMC Racing Team.

“All of us who left our tire prints on the European circuits remember how
racing there shaped us forever. With passion, Daniel Lee gives substance and perspective to the experience of young Americans trying to make it in
Europe; and bicycle racing is illuminated by his craft.”
—John Howard, three-time Olympic cyclist, who set a bicycle speed record of 152.2 mph in 1985

“For those who admire images of cyclists flashing with arms spread wide in triumph over the finish line on blue-sky days, Daniel Lee gives us an insightful, forceful, and gritty account of the rigorous―and frequently perilous―route that cyclists take to force their way up the ranks and develop skills to win. A former racer himself, Dan Lee puts his passion for the sport into his newspaper reporter experience and writing talent. In The Belgian Hammer he follows Taylor Phinney, Benjamin King, Daniel Holloway, and other legends in the making on the USA Cycling national team living in Belgium, where the young bloods from around the world go to test themselves against the best of their generation. They compete in tight packs exceeding 150 riders pumping over narrow wind-blown roads slick from rain while threading through the countryside at unrelenting speed. To spectators cycling matches the grace of ballet. Daniel Lee reveals its uncompromising demands and brutality and heroics.”
―Peter Joffre Nye, author of The Six-Day Bicycle Races: America’s Jazz Age Sport and a Trustee of the U.S. Bicycling Hall of Fame

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 2909 KB
  • Print Length: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Breakaway Books (19 May 2011)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0051VFPGW
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Average Customer Review: 1.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #435,227 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Terrible book 12 Feb 2012
I have a collection of some 400 cycling books; I have been a journalist writing on cycling; I have been an editor and publisher. I'm also a reader and an avid cyclist with more than 50 years of club riding, racing and so on under my belt. This is the worst cycling book I have ever read. Terrible, just terrible. It promised so much but delivered zilch. Unless off course you are a committed Christian then you may be attracted to some of the author's off-the-wall Christian propaganda. Having a poorly written manuscript is OK, but such manuscripts are then edited to turn a good idea (which this was) into a great volume. Somehow the publishers forgot to edit so I do have a recommendation: Don't buy this book! Rubbish from page 1 to the end.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.0 out of 5 stars  28 reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Breaking Into the Professional Cycling Circuit 19 Jan 2012
By dakotadude - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Racing in Belgium takes all young American rookies by surprise as it's faster, more dangerous, more difficult and the conditions more challenging than anything they've experienced in the States. However, the strong racers usually survive and eventually thrive in these intense Belgian competitions returning to America as professional cyclists.

Interesting, insightful and informative Daniel Lee's THE BELGIAN HAMMER: FORGING YOUNG AMERICANS INTO PROFESSIONAL CYCLISTS keeps you clicking through the cogs as the key races he describes reach critical mass and the young Americans display their raw talent: Displays like Ben King's dramatic breakaway win of the 115 mile US Pro Road Race Championship or Taylor Phinney's US Pro Time Trial Championship win in Greenville in September 2010.

This book describes contemporary American youths' racing experiences -- mostly young men based in Belgium, the groundzero of introductory European style racing -- and how these young guns master the skills needed to successfully ride their way into the future; a future in racing that unfortunately only rewards a very select few. It tells the story of the developmental programs and their primary importance in creating a reality where young American racers can focus on their racing leaving most of the logistics of living in Belgium to others, who just happen to double as coaches.

Reading THE BELGIAN HAMMER makes you want to yank your bike off the trainer and peel off down the road regardless of the fact that the roads are snow-covered and temperatures are in single digits. George Hincapie's Foreword adds a nice touch to a book that should inspire aspiring young American racers to forge ahead and achieve their dreams.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Nice look at the path for promising young riders! 13 July 2011
By Tobias Holsman - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Those of us who follow pro cycling generally only see fully-developed riders at the height of their powers. This is a really interesting examination of what it takes for young riders to make the jump to the big leagues. Since cycling remains a fringe sport in the US, the Belgian Hammer details what it's like for these athletes who must first overcome the general secondary status of the sport in their own country, and then find a way through the barriers of language, culture, and logistics just to have a shot at letting their abilities shine forth on the largest stage. One can only speculate that this book would ring true to a young Spaniard who dreams of playing in the NBA.

Cycling's most popular stars have always won their loyalty through their charisma just as much as through their racing achievements. Dan Lee was fortunate enough to befriend riders who are not only powerful athletes, but compelling personalities. This book will inspire young riders to aim high and provide weekend warriors with vicarious connection to the achievements of tomorrow's champions.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The Process of Making Champions is Revealed 19 Jun 2012
By Alex Hutchinson - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Many consider Road Cycling the toughest sport in the world and that is a view from the surface spectacle that we see at the big races. Behind the scenes there is the even more brutal process of building these riders so that they reach such an exalted level of fitness and self-sacrifice. The Belgian Hammer is a story about that process.

Young American riders leave their homes, friends, family and culture to travel across the pond to learn about a new way of life and an old way of racing. Belgium produces some of the greatest bike riders in history. It is a culture built on two wheels. Everyone knows the lingo, everyone is a fan, everyone rides a bike. It is here that these young American hopefuls test their mettle in countless local races, many on the thumping cobblestone roads. They practice and trade elbow shots in the harshest of weather for months at a time, all in the hope so becoming one of very few who will graduate to glory.

There were parts of this story where I was enveloped by insights into road racing and others where the author seemed to repeat himself. The forays into cycling physiology were fascinating even though the journalistic style was a little lacking. If anything I wish it had been longer. I didn't want to stop reading.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The reality of bike racing 21 Sep 2011
By Ian Sutherland - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Daniel Lee's capture of the ambiance, or lack of it, in the rugged life of a racing cyclist in Belgium is remarkably accurate. It portrays the ordeal today with its trials and tribulations. With the exception of the modern equipment and facilities there is a remarkable parallel with the 1950s when I was a young Brit pro racing in Dendemonde, Belgium. The rough and tumble in the bunch, often caused by the roads, not the riders, is still there. I am not sure the emphasis of foul play attributed to the Belgian riders is any worse than in races and racers of other nations. Certainly I have experienced it as a young man in Britain, France Canada and the USA. There are always some... I read the book non-stop and mailed it to a former team-mate in Britain who had been the same route as me and Daniel Lee's subjects. He confirmed it was a trip down memory lane. In Belgium is where racing MEN are made.

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Must read! 1 Jun 2011
By easyrider - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition
I couldn't put The Belgian Hammer down. I was wrapped up in the descriptions and excitement that leaps from the pages. Some of the stories made me laugh and others showed me the importance of determination and true-grit. The passion and drive behind the individuals featured is inspiring. After reading this book I wish I had started my cycling career earlier to enjoy racing at the same level. Now I can only live vicariously through these young men. Chapeau. Ride on.
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