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4.4 out of 5 stars
4.4 out of 5 stars
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on 30 July 2011
What fun this book is. To sum it up is easy: Normal bloke accidentally gets a job reporting on the extraordinary Tour de France. To begin with he knows nothing but becomes seduced by the race and over several years becomes knowledgeable fan with the great fortune to be right in the heart of the action dealing face to face with the movers and shakers. Throughout this time he remains normal bloke and works with colleagues who are also normal blokes. They do normal things in this extraordinary circus and Ned's book is just about that.... Being normal in the madness of the tour. It's accessible and fun and in places hysterical. I'd also recommend listening to the Podcast Ned does with Matt Rendall called The Real Peloton which is pretty much in the same vein as this book.
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on 30 September 2015
I've bought this as a Christmas gift so the main reader has not seen it yet. However of what I have seen it looks like a nice relaxing read for the keen cyclist. I am positive it will be favourably received and enjoyed.
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on 16 January 2013
This isn't like many books about the Tour. That's a great thing because it isn't the same old stuff you read about it, but it is full of funny and incredibly awkward personal anecdotes. I really enjoy the "cutaway" nature of the book, as it frequently starts on a subject and to further back it up gives a really detailed story about an event he has lived through on the Tour. This gives the book a sense of depth and completeness. How Cav Won the Green Jersey carries on in the same vein as the Yellow Jumper left off, and acts as an incredibly detailed post script to it. I guarantee you won't get bored of this.
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on 3 March 2012
I picked this book up at 2pm today, and by 9pm was on page 240, despite putting it down for a while to make the dinner. It has been a long time since I have had to ration a book to ensure I don't finish it all in one day- and it is not that it is very short either.

I am a big fan of ITV's coverage of the Tour de France and Vuelta a Espana, and have been ever since re-immersing myself into the world of roadracing. I wanted to find out what life is like for those whose job it is to actually pull together the pictures and commentary that allow us to watch and get involved in what is, for me, the world's best sporting event. One of the attractions of the Tour lies in not only the sporting spectacle but the respect paid to the heritage and traditions of the event, and cycling as a whole. This book does that but, is not afraid to poke fun at the more ludicrous aspects of life as a sports reporter.

One thing that pleasantly surprised me was how comforting I found the book. That might be an unexpected term to use, but for someone who has only had the opportunity to get back into cycling after finally getting cable TV, the world of bikes can be portrayed as inaccessible by many publications, particuarly those who seem to insist unless you are fully proficient in debating all aspects of whether Shimano or SRAM groupsets are preferable or what type of forks are worth shelling out a couple of grand for, you really have no place getting involved. Boulting has a fresher, non-elitist outlook, and in fact when he was packed off to cover his first TdF in 2003 he seemed even less informed than me- his excrutiating first foray into broadcasting is cringeworthy but funny to read and also explains the title of the book.

One of the other strengths of the book are that small, normally mundane aspects of life are reporting (such as how do reporters following the Tour ensure they have ironed shirts for every broadcast) in as loving detail as the big days (eg Bradley Wiggins' career changing stage in Switzerland in the 2009 event)and come together to create a well writting, involving and honest account that balances the banal with the glamourous and is a great snapshot of the carnival that takes place over 3 weeks every July.
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on 13 June 2013
I'll never look at reporters the same again !!! There was I thinking that these people were experts and sometimes they know as little as I do. This book is great for people who want to see the other side of the fence where TV productions of a global sport. It was both humbling and well as highly amusing and gave a full insight into the temperaments of the "sport superstars"..... I was glad to be reading about how these "stars" can lead the journalists a right merry dance for very little in the way of being at all offensive. IO thoroughly enjoyed the narrative..... even the non-cycling bits. Full of down to earth writings. I now recognise Ned when he comes on TV. A most enjoyable read.
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on 2 August 2014
Apart from the obvious humour and warmth of his writing, Ned provides a completely different view of Le Tour. Having read a lot of cycling books which mainly focus on individual riders and results it's very enlightening to see a view of the antics that go on in the background.
I found Ned's style very engaging and self deprecating..... always laying out his screw ups. An excellent book that I would highly recommend to both avid cycling fans and also to those who have only a passing interest in the subject.
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on 24 September 2012
Before reading this book, I had an impression of Ned Boulting as a jobbing TV journo who was amiable enough, but who has neither the fanatical dedication nor the depth to say anything terribly insightful or interesting. After reading this book, I realise that Ned Boulting is a jobbing journo who is amiable enough, but who has neither the fanatical dedication nor the depth to say anything terribly insightful or interesting.

True, he's funnier than I would have given him credit for, and the book is written smoothly enough to make it a pleasurable, in a small way. But ultimately, I learned nothing about the TdF, nothing about France, nothing about professional cyclists, and nothing about the human condition. Ultimately, this book is a superficial but jolly account of a small bunch of chaps making a TV programme about a sports event. And that's it.
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on 27 January 2014
I was absolutely riveted to this book. I'm a huge Tour fan anyway, which I think helped, but I found it so interesting, so many different opinions that you don't get to hear about on the TV coverage. And Ioved Ned's style of writing, very high quality, very entertaining. If you're a cycling fan, this is a must.
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on 25 September 2011
Firstly in reply to the 2 star review: No disrespect but I think Martin must have been reading a different book. The whole point of the book was to present a (very) light-hearted view on how the author went from a tour novice (yellow jumper ... FAIL!!) to someone with good insight (read the chapter about Floyd Landis!! "don't you think it was a bit, erm, bent?"). It isn't a book about the Tour but about what happens behind the scenes, the characters from behind the camera and the differences in persona of those that appear in front of the camera and how different they are when the red light is off. Its also about what the journos have to do when following the race as well as the toxic contents of their luggage.

The book is funny (very funny), even my Mum wants to read it, and she hasn't been on a bike for years, thats not to say she hasn't picked up the lingo (she has!). My maternal Grandpa used to do a lot of cycling on the continent, I think he would be amazed with what cycling has become, but also disappointed with the darker side of the sport (which the book deals with in a very good matter of fact way).

Cav (GB Cycling) ... World Champ ... YES
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on 19 October 2013
Ned Boulting's entertaining pieces to camera are something I look forward to every July. This book is no less entertaining and gives an insight into the relationship between the journalist and the Tour de France which is both enjoyable and informative.
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