8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
The Wrong Ghost....,
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Domestique: The Real-life Ups and Downs of a Tour Pro (Hardcover)
Say what you like about Lance Armstrong, since his bust, the shelves have been awash with English language memoirs of the mid 90's peoloton. Tending to fall into two camps; confessional (Tyler) and 'roll with it' (Yates), this is firmly in the latter camp. No drugs tales, no doping dilemmas just the grind of the job - fair play to Wegelius; he makes it clear he is no snitch and, judging by his salary for half his career, I am amazed he was able to pay for petrol much less EPO so I take it as it comes.
And it comes...patchily. Sad to say, this a fantastic story hampered by some shoddy ghost writing. Tyler Hamilton's book has been re-read three times. Why? Because, despite his use of an amanuensis, it's his voice that shines through. Likewise with Yate's biog. Here, the voice at times veers towards Alan Partridge ('I, quite literally, had the last laugh'. Maybe not, but you get the gist) or a foul mouthed 16 year old. I am not squeamish about bad language but there are some pages where you suspect that Charly's sole adjective begins with 'F'.
Criticism aside, it is well worth reading - 20 years ago, he would have been a legend, on a par with Sean Yates or Neil Stephens, the plucky super domestique sacrificing his career for the good of the team, grist to the mill of the British clubman. You only have to look at the cover photo to see just how much he has aged in his time on the bike, to see 'that hard work never hurt anyone' is utter rubbish - he buried himself day in, day out for very little in the way of recognition.
It's his memories of that time which make it worth getting. The best bit, as someone who waded through Pro Cycling and Cycle Sport month in, month out, throughout the 90's and noughties, are the bits of insider gossip - Friere, Rominger, most of Mapei all come out of it very well, Cipollini all the more so, Pantani the enigma, Ullrich the good egg. I know folks will read this and gnash their teeth that he doesn't spill the beans, but it's not his job to - there's plenty of books out there to name names - much more interesting to me is to actually know what a night out with Cipollini was actually like. Brilliant, by the sounds of things.
There are some gaps. He says little about Wiggins, odd seeing that they roomed together in the High Peak at the start of their careers and you feel he holds back regards British Cycling, but that's just niggles.
If you can get past the cack handed prose, it is perhaps one of the most honest and insightful books I've ever read about the British experience in professional cycling.