Honest, comforting and very funny,
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This review is from: How I Won the Yellow Jumper: Dispatches from the Tour de France (Yellow Jersey Cycling Classics) (Paperback)
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.