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4.6 out of 5 stars113
4.6 out of 5 stars
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on 25 November 2014
I am not a cyclist, more a cycle widow, but I have come to enjoy watching cycling. This frank and honest book was a treat to read and very helpful in getting to grips with the tactics of team cycling. A must read!
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on 9 August 2013
For a self confessed Cav fan this book has to come as a little bit of a disappointment. Compared to other cycling autobiographies out there you get, in my opinion, very little feel of the bike race and of the emotions going through the racer. Given the author's speciality of the frantic do-or-die bunch sprint I expected more. Some of the his attitudes to not show him in the best light, while I love his confidence/arrogance there is some whining in the book that is hard to stomach.

Right, bad stuff out of the way, the emergence of the British Academy through the eyes of its most famous graduate make for excellent reading and the heartfelt thanking of teammates we've seen in many post race interviews shows a man who understands the team more than most.

If your a Cav fan and want to know a out how he started then you get what you're looking for, if you have read the books by Wiggins or Millar and are looking for more thoughtful insight from another British cyclist then I think you may end up disappointed.
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on 6 September 2009
I have read a large number of sporting books in my time; some very good, many distinctly mediocre. This might just be the best one I have ever read.

Love him or loathe him - and it is difficult to be anywhere in between - Mark Cavendish is to sprinting on two wheels what Usain Bolt is to sprinting on two legs. If road cycling had anywhere near the same profile in the UK as athletics does, more people would be idolising this young man in the same way as the incredible Jamaican athlete.

Cavendish's autobiography weaves the tale of his four stage wins at the 2008 Tour de France with his life story up to and including his win at the 2009 Milan-San Remo classic. Although the book covers only the first two-and-a-bit years of a pro career which still (hopefully) has many successful years to come - and therefore does not include his six stage wins at the 2009 Tour - there is so much packed into the 340-odd pages that it does not feel padded at all.

The book reads in much the same way the man himself conducts himself in interviews: he shoots from the hip with his heart on his sleeve, occasionally inserting foot in mouth. But anyone who has ever seen Cav interviewed would expect no less: in a PC, PR-conscious world, here is a sportsman who is as brutally honest as he is fast. At times it is painfully obvious who he does and does not respect in the cycling world, and yet he is surprisingly self-critical, self-effacing and not afraid to admit when he has been proven wrong about someone. The book is full of little insights into the mindset of a master practitioner and behind-the-scenes revelations of what it is like to be a professional road cyclist, which make this a cut above the average sporting autobiography. Add this to the fleshing out of a person far more complex, meticulous and magnanimous (to his team) than the one-dimensional cocky narcissist sometimes portrayed in the media, and what you have here is a compelling tale that had me tearing through the pages much like the man himself does when he has the sniff of the finish line in his nostrils.

Unputdownable. Having waited a few months before buying this, I will be first in line to buy the next chapter of the story of this incredible young man.
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on 24 May 2012
for a boy who is constantly being told to read more books my mum brought this to get me reading because i love cycling and Mark Cavendish is an inspiration to me. I stayed in my room for a hole week of my holidays reading this book over and over and i think this is an brilliant book!! sorry if my English is bad!
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on 17 February 2013
A very interesting book about a very interesting cyclist. I'd read the Bradley Wiggins book prior to this, and that was superb ( if not a little rushed to press judging by the slight repetition and grammatical errors !) But this book is fantastic,absolutely fantastic. A thoroughly engaging read about a young man who shows immense determination in a tough sport, with perfectly frank views and opinions about other riders, his teams, and himself. Read this book, you won't be disappointed.
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on 22 November 2012
This gives some fascinating insights into the mentality, natural talent and environment that have driven Cav's incredible career. A few overwrought sentences aside, it's well written and engaging and recommended for anyone interested in sport generally but certainly a must read for cycling fans.
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on 1 December 2011
An excellent insight into the teamwork that exists in a racing team. I thought i understood how they work for each other but never quite realised to this extent.

Mark's admiration for George Hincapie just goes to confirm what i had heard about this great man.

I admire Mark's honesty about other people, and also about his own personality, however i just felt he should have written this book in another 5 or 7 years where he could have spoken more about his successful tours.

Don't get me wrong, still a good book, but could be better with age!
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on 1 August 2014
I, like most British cycling fans, like Mark Cavendish. This book is a pretty detailed account of his racing career up until the 2009 Tour. Some bits, particularly the description of his preparation for the Milan San Remo win, and his disappointing 2008 olympics with Wiggins, are gripping reading. Unfortunately though, much of the book is rather dry and I found myself skipping through several sections. It is worth reading though, especially if you understand enough about cycling to understand the significance of his achievements.
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on 8 July 2011
Mark Cavendish is the fastest man on two wheels. Born in the Isle of Man in 1985 he discovered as a teenager that although he was a slightly tubby lad with rather short legs and a passion for junk food he had a love of cycling and an amazing passion for winning. This autobiography gives a little background into his younger days. He then rapidly moves the story through his teenage championships to reach the British academy and then finally his move into Prefessional racing.

Mark is a man who always appears to wear his heart on his sleeve and he tends to be very emotional. The Manxman admits that he can be volatile and outspoken but also points out that he is a comparatively young rider to be in the spotlight and he is obviously maturing and behaving in a more appropriate way now. Throughout this book Cavendish talks about his various teammates as well as many riders who are on other teams but whom he has had regular contact. I found this interesting as it was nice to find out what an "insider" had to say about names that I held in high regard or who I particularly disliked in the cycling world. However I must say that I thought his book showed great discretion and often when he mentioned incidents with particular people he would often mention his own inappropriate behaviour with regard to the same incident.

The layout of the book is rather confusing. The introduction gives a brief overview of some races and his interactions with certain characters. Each chapter is then headed as a Stage of the 2008 Tour De France. The chapter then incorporates the details of that days stage; this may be a few lines if it was a mediocre stage to a blow by blow account of most of the race if there were things of significance to Cavendish or his team. As would be expected he was often full of praise for his teammates. Alongside these accounts in each chapter he has also written the story of his cycling career so far. I found this tricky to follow at first. Once I got used to the style it became easier to negotiate the writing and I could follow it a little better.
Like many autobiographies this one contains the obligatory photograph sections. I always enjoy these parts, particularly in a book like this when it is possible to see the amazing change from a cute baby to a 14 year old national Champion through to an insecure tubby professional in his debut photograph to the lean speed machine who cruised comfortably to victory on the Champs-Elysees in the final stage of the 2009 Tour De France.

After finishing his book I am still very much a fan of this boy wonder. I found his accounts very honest and it is a wise person who can see his own faults. He states categorically that he is not the most gifted person who has ever climbed onto a bike. However what really drives him is a true passion for winning, he thinks that it is this passion that makes the difference between him and many of the talented riders out there. This is not a book that is going to be enjoyed by anyone who doesn't have even a passing interest in cycle racing. There is a lot of detail and the mention of a lot of people who are well-known in the cycling world but who are pretty much unknown outside of it. However I thoroughly enjoyed the book. I came to the conclusion that Mark Cavendish is a likeable young man who can be rather outspoken but who has deep respect and regard for his friends and colleagues and the sort of love of racing that was a delight to read about.
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on 28 June 2009
I found `Boy Racer' to be an immensely satisfying and intriguing insight into the most talented sports star ever to emerge from the Isle of Man. Interspersed with his recount of his momentous achievements in the 2008 Tour de France and paradoxically calamitous under-achievement in the Beijing Games, is a heartfelt and moving account of his life and driving passions. This book is about a man with an unerring sense of self belief, whose drive and will to win define him.
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