28 of 30 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars
A must read, 27 Oct 2008
Like many I have watched the Tour de France on television and marvelled at
the super human achievements of the cyclists who put themselves through this hell. What is even more fascinating, however, are the relationships that exist in this world; not just between the riders, but also the journalists, administrators and financiers. Whittle's book gives a rare insight into how it is to live and work in an environment where people lie and deceive on a daily basis, not because they dislike you, but because
their very survival in this world appears to depend on it.
Other reviews have said that there is nothing new in this book regarding the material facts of the numerous doping scandals. This misses, what I see, as the point of the book. Whittle gives the reader a glimpse of the relationships that exist within elite sport. His relationships with David Millar and Lance Armstrong typify how difficult it has been for Whittle to stay in love with a sport that once gave him so much as a fan, but as part of the professional cycling circus, he struggles to find truth and honour, not least within himself.
I don't believe, as one reviewer states, that Whittle sets out to tie
Armstrong to doping. Armstrong has a place within cycling that is without
precedent, and so you can sense Whittle's growing sense of anger that Armstrong failed to use the power his position afforded him to banish doping from the peloton. Armstrong like everyone else featured in
this book is,neither a hero or villain, but a human being who has fought
to survive in such a hostile environment, something a figure like Marco
Pantani was unable to do.
This is a compelling and often disturbing account of the paradox of loving a
sport, whilst at the same time seeing the lure of success in it challenge
and, in some cases, destroy, relationships and individuals.
A must read.