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39 of 39 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars THE REAL TOUR DE FRANCE REVEALED
I'm not particularly a cycling fan but perhaps the best thing about this book is that you don't need to be, to really enjoy it. I read `Bad Blood' as a Francophile who has lived in France and as somebody who wanted an accessible, geek-free insight into the recent disasters of the Tour de France. In contrast to earlier reviewers, I didn't find it `prattish' at all, just...
Published on 21 Nov 2008 by Rachel Cook

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Very readable, but nothing new.
Well written, and I empathise with the authors sentiments and frustrations; especially regarding 'The Texan'.

However as good as 'Bad Blood' is, there are better books that address the doping problems in cycling, 'Rough Ride' by Paul Kimmage Rough Rideand the EXCELLENT From 'Lance to Landis'. From Lance to Landis: Inside the American Doping Controversy at the...
Published on 27 Dec 2008 by Mr. Gregory D. Smith


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39 of 39 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars THE REAL TOUR DE FRANCE REVEALED, 21 Nov 2008
By 
Rachel Cook - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
I'm not particularly a cycling fan but perhaps the best thing about this book is that you don't need to be, to really enjoy it. I read `Bad Blood' as a Francophile who has lived in France and as somebody who wanted an accessible, geek-free insight into the recent disasters of the Tour de France. In contrast to earlier reviewers, I didn't find it `prattish' at all, just refreshingly honest. It doesn't offer any pat solutions, just the wisdom of experience and it's all the better for it. The journey aspect of the book - from wide-eyed, star-struck sports fan, meeting Lance Armstrong for the first time, to world-weary cynicism as he watches David Millar weep in the Tour's press room - really worked and took me with it. At times, it's almost cinematic, cutting from Lance Armstrong's front room in Texas to the mountains of France and it gains from being personal and subjective, rather than forensic and black and white. It's also about letting go of your dreams, knowing that you will be alienated as a result - as he says in the book, drug-taking in sport is too easily demonised, because even `good' people cheat. Rather than a dispassionate scientific analysis of laboratory procedures, it's almost a love story and he's not afraid to admit that. The argument, that doping is not a simplistic issue with simple answers, but something with real moral complexity, is expertly made. But the book is at its best when he talks about Lance Armstrong's megalomania, the consequences of Armstrong's control-freakery, and about his relationship with David Millar, a rider he clearly adores, but whose doping confession clouded their relationship. Yes, I felt sorry for him and for other fans who have felt the same sense of betrayal. Yes, he says he is bitter, but then, after working in such a corrupt world for that length of time, who wouldn't be?
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28 of 30 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A must read, 27 Oct 2008
By 
Inquisitive (London, England) - See all my reviews
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.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Readable and Compelling, 17 July 2008
By 
Matthew Taylor (London) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
I agree with both of the earlier reviewers. This is a readable, well written and compelling book, as a memoir of Whittle's career as a cycling journalist it is entertaining and as a chronicle of his move from loyal fan to insider to dissapointed cynic it is even quite moving, and to be fair that is how it describes itself.

It is not revelatory though, it is not an 'expose' there is nothing new in the way of evidence, as the first reviewer says, go to Walsh and Kimmage for those but Whilttle never pretends that this is an expose. He gives credit where it due to Walsh to Kimmage to Simeoni, and records his own personal response to these events.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A compelling read, 14 Aug 2009
By 
A. Cuckson (Sheffield, England) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Bad Blood: The Secret Life of the Tour de France (Paperback)
A compelling read : the personal observations and experience of a journalist close to the professional road racing circus. A thoughtful and thought provoking book.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Bad Blood, 1 Aug 2008
By 
G. Daniels "velovet" (Staffs, England) - See all my reviews
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Jeremy Whittle charts his personal metamorphosis from cycling innocent to complicit acceptance of doping, its eventual rejection and finally outright cycnicism of pro cycling. He writes stylishly of the last decade from the Festina Affair to Operacion Puerto. There may be little new on offer but he tops-and-tails the stories that have emerged from the peloton with some telling observation.

The name of Lance Armstrong threads through the text. From redneck to sharp suit, from friend to inaccessible icon, Lance became bigger than the Tour itself. Indeed, the Armstrong organisation hectored the media and anyone else who challenged the boss and his ethics. Corporatism eliminated the flair in cycling - the use of EPO purged the uncertainty in the sport, its greatest attraction.

Lance railed against those who disputed the drug culture in cycling or owned up to taking drugs. His retirement in 2005 exposed what was still going on beneath the surface.

In 1991 Greg Lemond was even better prepared for the Tour that in 1990 when he won, yet the gap between him and the dopers widened as the race went on. He recognised what was happening, EPO had arrived. He is now an outspoken, articulate critic of doping and what it has done to cycling.

Whittle realises cycling's inability to change itself, that the gilded words of its leaders mean nothing. Yet the fans still want to believe. In his soul, Whittle still wants to believe, but the circle is closed and the future looks bleak.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic, 23 Jun 2008
By 
S. J. Banbery (Cambridge, UK) - See all my reviews
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Taut, exciting and reads like a thriller - an intelligent and revealing look at the murkey underbelly of the world of professional cycling. Written with style, panache and humour this is a great read and an important contribution to the debate surrounding drugs and sport. Buy it now!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A fascinating read, 7 Oct 2012
By 
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Bad Blood: The Secret Life of the Tour de France (Paperback)
If you don't let the countless typo and proofreading errors in the book bother you (they got on my nerves, but then I'm a copy editor) then this is a must read for any cycling fan, and a fantastic story for anyone interested in sport at all.
The author includes plenty of the atmosphere and description that makes the Tour so appealing in the first place, but manages to capture the flip side ambience too - the often seedy nature of the sport. It also tantalises and teases somewhat because you're certain that there is a great deal the author couldn't include for obvious legal reasons, but that just makes the tale even more addictive.
Although having read Whittle's ghost-written David Millar autobiography, I was constantly plagued by one question about the author. If he did really commit to one side of the doping debate (the anti-side) how did he find his own justification for helping Millar achieve what no other doper seems to? Namely, large scale acceptance back into the fold and an almost heroic new image? I say this, because the Millar book is also excellent and I began to feel Millar was something of an avenging hero.
I wonder if there is an updated version planned in the wake of Armstrong having his titles 'stripped' from him? If so, this may become an even better read...
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a masterpiece of cycling literature, 28 Dec 2008
By 
M. Eccles - See all my reviews
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Those looking for a list of names, a list longer and more detailed than already exposed, perhaps, would be very disappointed, I imagine. Yet, the world of cycling is not merely a list of names. It is a mosaic of human beings influenced daily by money, power, greed and celebrity...and winning is not an end in itself but a means to all those things. The cycling, after all, is but a vehicle to attain them. The sport becomes a secondary consideration to those who, in the greatest of ironies, purport to be its greatest exponents. Witness Philippe Gaumont's very personal account in 'prisonnier du dopage'. This book is a depiction of that mosaic of narcissism. Its darkness and its menace lay in the slow revelation that the most narcissistic, the most mercenary human elements of the mosaic, prosper and progress to shape the new generation and, in doing so, do no more than secure their own legacy. It is damning, it is carefully but colourfully constructed and, to a relative newcomer to the world of cycling, it takes one's breath away. A masterpiece.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Very readable, but nothing new., 27 Dec 2008
Well written, and I empathise with the authors sentiments and frustrations; especially regarding 'The Texan'.

However as good as 'Bad Blood' is, there are better books that address the doping problems in cycling, 'Rough Ride' by Paul Kimmage Rough Rideand the EXCELLENT From 'Lance to Landis'. From Lance to Landis: Inside the American Doping Controversy at the Tour de France to name a couple.

But it's very readable and the more people who read this kind of book the more people will question how a 'clean' American can beat (by minutes) riders that later either fail drugs tests, or are implemented in drugs scandals.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Shows the extent of the problem, 19 Jan 2009
By 
C. Kennedy "Bike reader" (Belgium) - See all my reviews
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Good and Easy to read book,I fnished it in 3 sessions over 3 days, so it held my interest. As others have said its low on detail but given the subject and the fact that getting inside gritty details due to the Omerta isn't exactly easy.

No major revelations beyond what is in the public domain, however if you are interested in cycling and want to know the scale of the problems with doping in cycling then this gives you a good introduction.

I personally liked the style of writing and some good focus on D.Millar and Armstrong in particular. Brave writing in my view given the defensive capabilities of Armstrong. It shows the personalities behind the corporate persona's. Despite his past sins I thought Millar came across as an OK guy, who just got caught up in the tide.

I do doubt if Mr Whittle will be getting any Christmas cards from the Peleton anytime soon.
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Bad Blood: The Secret Life of the Tour de France
Bad Blood: The Secret Life of the Tour de France by Jeremy Whittle (Paperback - 4 Jun 2009)
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