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18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars As brutally honest as he is fast
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...
Published on 6 Sep 2009 by tsl04

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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Still too young for Bio
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...
Published on 1 Dec 2011 by Duke


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18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars As brutally honest as he is fast, 6 Sep 2009
This review is from: Boy Racer (Hardcover)
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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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I was glued!, 24 May 2012
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This review is from: Boy Racer (Kindle Edition)
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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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Top man, 28 Jun 2009
This review is from: Boy Racer (Hardcover)
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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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Still too young for Bio, 1 Dec 2011
By 
Duke (Dublin, Ireland) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Boy Racer (Kindle Edition)
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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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Behind the Manx Missile, 8 July 2011
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This review is from: Boy Racer (Paperback)
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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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hugely entertaining, 3 July 2009
By 
Mr. J. A. Allen "Johnny Allen" (Wiltshire) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Boy Racer (Hardcover)
This book is one of the most frankly written books on cycling that I have in my collection. Cavendish takes us on a whistle stop tour of his life and career to date. In parts hilarious, in other parts sad, he does not let his famed ego get in the way of the story but tells it as he sees it - to hell with the consequences. It will not make comfortable reading for a few people; but if you want an entertaining read (cyclist or not) then you could do a lot worse than buy this book. His awe inspiring description of the unfolding seconds of his victories is incredibly vivid and puts you right into his zone. The closest I have ever come to visualizing what it is like to win a stage of the TDF came whilst holding this book.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Entertaining, informative & enjoyable... an important read for any aspiring winner...., 9 Nov 2009
This review is from: Boy Racer (Hardcover)
I will never forget Mark Cavendish's response to a reporter asking what he had learnt today... "Nothing." He went on add that he had nothing to learn. This was day three of the 2008 Tour de France, with finishes in 120th, 100th and 10th, with the latter the most promising profile for the sprinter - the self-proclaimed fastest man in the world.

Not hard to see how the charges of arrogant and cocky come about!

However, at the age of 23, in this, his second ever Tour, Cavendish goes on to win four stages (followed by six wins in 2009). That puts him up there with the greats - even if not universally loved, it is hard to ignore his achievements, though many try.

The book covers the fourteen stages of Cavendish's 2008 Tour, interspersed with earlier staging points in his life and career. The epilogue deals with the disaster in the Beijing Olympics - Cavendish does not spare this Madison team-mate, Bradley Wiggins, nor the much applauded UK coaching staff for the lamentable preparation for this event.

As might be expected, Cavendish has a lot to say in this book. What you might not expect is just how articulate and insightful he writes, nor the awareness with which he readily admits his many mistakes and weaknesses. Not exactly humility, but Cavendish shares the bitter disappointments and his poor reaction to setbacks just as much as the victories. It is certainly a case of what you see is what you get. And what we get is a huge character to match a huge talent for cycling very fast over short distances.

To shoot to prominence in cycling is unheard of, at least from a British cycling perspective. Normally it is a case of grinding away in the ranks for years and years before being given a chance, so it might look like Cavendish has had it easy. That is a little unfair - the results show he deserved the chances he got, and took. They also show how quickly he learned his craft and earned the respect of his team-mates. The latter is the most important factor in any sprinters success - it is hard to say whether a Cavendish win is down to his abilities or more the result of a team effort. There again, it is Cavendish who leads and inspires confidence in the team, he contributes to the relaxed atmosphere where everyone is a part and everyones' part is acknowledged and rewarded - not everyone has that. Much of his success Cavendish attributes to his love of cycling - his passion for the sport.

It is easy to see the controversy Cavendish has kicked up from shouting off has helped keep him in the headlines as much as the race wins, and media attention is the name of the game as far as modern sport and sponsorship is concerned. But it is hard to imagine him behaving any other way.
While it is hard to find fault with Chris Hoy or Bradley Wiggins, Cavendish has achieved just as much in a very short time, so it is regrettable the British public have yet to embrace him as the great champion he is.

This book is not just a record of events, it exposes the thinkings and attitudes of a winner - someone who believes in his own abilities, someone who can overcome criticism and setbacks, someone who turns negative situations into positive ones. There is something to learn here, not just for cyclists, not just sportsmen and sportswomen...
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Boy and a Bike, 22 April 2012
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This review is from: Boy Racer (Kindle Edition)
Not quite finished but have to say when I started reading, I didn't like Cavendish very much. I'm an amateur racer in USA cycling and can relate to some of his experiences. I found the further I read, the more I started to like him. I've read both books by Lance Armstrong and Cavendish is much different not only because he's British, but also because he's a sprinter. It's given me a different perspective on the world of pro-cycling and a new perspective on sprinters, especially in the major stage races.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A must for cyclists, 19 Nov 2011
By 
Mr. K. Prior (England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Boy Racer (Paperback)
You will know a lot more about Mark Cavendish (and many of his team mates and adversaries) after reading this book. Chronologically, it jumps around a lot but it is ordered more by theme than time. Frank, detailed and emotive it is a must for anyone who follows bike racing.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great read for both cyclists and none cyclists alike., 4 Oct 2011
This review is from: Boy Racer (Paperback)
Great read for both cyclists and none cyclists alike.

An excellent and addictive read, I couldn't put it down!
I was looking forward to reading this book although a little apprehensive! Would it be as good as he is a sprinter (world champion 2011) well the answer is definitely yes, it was well told and written. A great insight into his life, along with his perspective on the cycling world.
I look forward to the next instalment of his journey through life.
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