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20 of 20 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Shocking but a great read.
Willy Voet worked for many years as a soigneur for some of the world's top professional road racing teams. A soigneur is a person who takes care of other people and that is just what Willy did. Making sure that everyone had the right food, massage regime and drugs.
In 1998, he was arrested as he entered France with the supply of drugs to be used by the Festina team...
Published on 29 Oct 2001 by John Peter O'connor

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Shocking to the uninformed
A tell all from a proponent of doping who was caught is not the same as coming clean. Far from it in fact so one must read Willy Voet's book with that in mind. He would probably still be providing drugs to riders today if he hadn't have been caught. Having said that the book is a scarily frank (although not completely repentant) account of the systematic doping that more...
Published on 7 Mar 2010 by R. Smyth


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20 of 20 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Shocking but a great read., 29 Oct 2001
By 
John Peter O'connor - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
Willy Voet worked for many years as a soigneur for some of the world's top professional road racing teams. A soigneur is a person who takes care of other people and that is just what Willy did. Making sure that everyone had the right food, massage regime and drugs.
In 1998, he was arrested as he entered France with the supply of drugs to be used by the Festina team in that year's Tour de France. At first, the French thought that they had picked up another drug dealer bringing back supplies from the Netherlands but when they realised the true significance of their find, the consequences for the tour were severe.
The 1998 tour was almost scrapped and serious damage was done to the reputation of the event, the teams and cyclists. Voet himself was briefly imprisoned and then kicked out of the sport which was quite prepared to sacrifice him as a single rotten apple. That led directly to this book in which Voet tells of his own experiences of the drug taking within the world of professional cycling.
The scope of those revelations is shocking indeed. Not just the fact that drug taking occurred but the degree to which it spread across the whole sport and the lengths to which teams went to ensure that riders had the best set of drugs for their individual needs and the measures taken to prevent the riders from testing positive for banned substances. If you want to know exactly how to give a sample of somebody else's urine when stripped and made to give that sample in the presence of a doctor, read here.
The book has it's lighter moments too. The rider caught because the mechanic, who had provided the specimen that the rider later produced, had been taking amphetamines. Another rider who was prepared to buy a dose of rocket fuel, contents unknown, from a stranger who promised that he could win a stage.
Voet's motivation in writing this book is, at least in part, to justify himself by explaining that he did nothing that was not common practice throughout the sport. As such, some will doubt his veracity but he does not mince his words. He names names and gives considerable detail and yet nobody is queuing up to sue him for defamation.
The book does not pretend to be a far reaching survey or to tell the whole story. The author simply writes about his personal involvement in and knowledge of the field. William Fotheringham's translation is very good indeed. He writes fluidly and clearly understands what he is working on. Together, the two men have produced a fascinating book which is really an essential read for anyone interested in cycling or the effects of drugs on sport in general.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Shocking, Depressing, Gripping, 23 July 2001
Willy Voet's book tells two stories: the run-up to and events surrounding his arrest just before the 1998, interspersed with anecdotes from 30 years of bike racing. The former is fairly well-known, but the latter opens your eyes to the practices apparently endemic in the European peloton.
He describes personally "charging" as a junior so that he would race well in front of his family, and goes on to describe many of the tricks used to outwit the doping controls. Some of these tricks were sneaky, some sound painful, and some just depended on the laissez-faire attitude of the authorities. He goes on to ask how these can be the same authorities who now claim to be trying to clean up the sport.
He does name names, although in a matter-of-fact way (as they were merely the riders he was responsible for) rather than in a shock-horror-exposé way.
Cycling journalist William Fotheringham's translation is excellent, although he has had to shy away from some names, I presume for legal reasons. If your French is good enough, buy the original version from www.amazon.fr and read it directly after the English one.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Willy Voet, 10 Jun 2003
This review is from: Breaking The Chain: Drugs and Cycling - The True Story (Paperback)
If you can read some french get the original and a dictionary.
I read it when it fisrt came out, in between watching the tdf in the alps, which gave it more impact.
yes its not written brilliantly, but reads more like the man telling his story, rather than trying to make it into a hollywood movie!
it incriminates some very famous cyclists and makes you wonder to what level doping is currently happening in sport.
recommended to anyone interested in cycling/ athletics etc.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Drugs in Cycling - The true story., 10 May 2001
Willy Voet, former FESTINA soigneur. His own account of his arrest and his experience of drug use in the professional pelton. He is particulary explicit in his descriptions of how, what and where banned drugs were used, revealing a world where not just the athletes are using performance-enhancing substances but there support crews too. Whatever your stand-point on drugs, you cant help but feel a degree of fascination as Voet discusses what each drug does, how they work, and the lenghts that riders and there doctors took to conceal drugs are often grimly comic.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Shocking to the uninformed, 7 Mar 2010
By 
R. Smyth (Ireland) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Breaking The Chain: Drugs and Cycling - The True Story (Paperback)
A tell all from a proponent of doping who was caught is not the same as coming clean. Far from it in fact so one must read Willy Voet's book with that in mind. He would probably still be providing drugs to riders today if he hadn't have been caught. Having said that the book is a scarily frank (although not completely repentant) account of the systematic doping that more than likely still pervades cycling today (too a lesser extent).

In short (it is a short book), eye opening even to someone who has read nearly every book on doping in cycling. Worth the money anyway.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Sports, Money, Drugs..., 5 Jun 2001
By 
George N. Wells (Dover, NJ USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
It is clear from the outset that the author is not a professional writer, but his story is compelling, if not chilling. Cycling, at least professional cycling outside of the USA, is a big money sport. With all the money on the line, it is not surprising that everyone is looking for an edge over their competition.
The surprising thing is that these througbred cyclists, who will depend on their bodies for a living, wind up putting totally unknown substances into their bodies (i.e., "Belgian Mix") with no idea about the long or short term effects. And that is just the cyclists themselves. The book implicates the entire team structure.
Are there "clean" riders in the pelethon and on the podium? Surely there are. However, if you are struggling to hang on for the purpose of staying in the sport the lure of that chemical assist is enticing.
I am saddened, but not surprised, by the content of this book. I don't expect these folks to be perfect, I could never achieve what they have achieved. However, the culture of winning at all costs has gone beyond all recognizable limits.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Badly written, but still interesting!, 4 Sep 2003
This review is from: Breaking The Chain: Drugs and Cycling - The True Story (Paperback)
I'm not a cyclist and never have been. I have watched the Tour De France for years though, amazed at the strength and stamina of the riders. Now I know how many of them have done it - through the comprehensive and systematic use of a huge range of drugs.
This book is written by a masseur who worked with many top teams and riders for years and was heavily involved in the drug culture in professional cycling.
It's badly written and it's hard to follow in places. I guess if you know your cycling history and names, it would be easier. But it is also full of stories and anecdotes about drug taking, told in such a casual way that makes it both shocking and fascinating for anyone interested in sport.
The writer tries hard to elicit your sympathy for the fact he got caught and had little choice but to own up. He is angry with others in the sport whom he helped cheat, for abandoning him. Yet I felt no sympathy for him whatsoever. It's clear that getting caught was the only thing that stopped him being there today doing the same thing.
The sheer scale of the cheating is what made this an interesting read. It leaves you wondering if every rider or every sportsperson for that matter is a cheat. For me it reaffirms the need to leave no stone unturned in ridding sport of drugs.
I need to know that Lance Armstrong is naturally as remarkable a sports man as he appears, so that you can continue to marvel at what is possible.
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5.0 out of 5 stars The other side of the story..., 29 May 2001
By A Customer
In Breaking the Chain, Willy Voet gives his frank account of the events that sparked off cyclings current state of turmoil. Voet, a former soigneur with the Festina team, was stopped by French customs officials just days before the start of the 1998 Tour de France with a car load of performance enhancing drugs that were to be systematically administered to the team throughout the course of the three week race. Breaking the Chain is incredibly disturbing to anyone who loves the sport of cycling. Voet openly discusses what many have feared for so long to be happening that previously had been "overlooked". Much has been written about doping in sport, (not just cycling) since his arrest and Voet deserves the chance to tell his side of the story. Possibly the most worrying aspect of this book is Voet's matter-of-fact attitude towards so much that was done by the riders and support staff. He cannot however, be held responsible for the current state of cycle racing. As he himself explains, he was such a small part of the greater evil. An excellent and at times shocking account of Professional cycling.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Not as informative as you'd think, 13 Oct 2009
This review is from: Breaking The Chain: Drugs and Cycling - The True Story (Paperback)
This book doesn't give you anything you don't already know about bike cheating, It's an interesting little story written in an autobiographical style but it doesn't blow any lids or dish much dirt, basically the doctor did it and Willy is a patsy, there is enough detail to whet the appetite and a few, now well known doping methods described but that aside it doesn't really go into why the team directors did what they did both before the team was caught and afterwards in the court room. The blurb hints at some deeper investigation but that's all you get, a hint. TBH Les Woodlands book 'The Crooked Path To Victory' tells you all you'd learn from this book in a single chapter with a lot more besides and he wasn't 'inside' the Festina scandal.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Shocking account of how bad things are, 27 Jun 2008
By 
F. Cassidy - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Breaking The Chain: Drugs and Cycling - The True Story (Paperback)
This book provides a shocking account of Willy Voets experience in his many years in professional cycling. For someone that has no idea about cycling, I'm sure the contents of the book would be almost inmpossible to believe. For those that follow cycling (like myself) it's still a shock.
The book isn't all that well written, its written in a very informal tone, with the occasional use of bad grammer, but it didn't spoil my enjoyment of the book.
I think there are better books out there which give a more detailled acount of life in the proessional peleton, but for the price of it, I'd recommend this book to anyone.
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Breaking The Chain: Drugs and Cycling - The True Story
Breaking The Chain: Drugs and Cycling - The True Story by Willy Voet (Paperback - 6 Jun 2002)
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