Bradley Wiggins: My Time - An Autobiography Hardcover – 8 Nov 2012
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"Revealing and compelling... Events that we thought we’d seen from every angle are given a fresh twist" (Tim Lewis Observer)
"Like the man himself, captivating" (Simon Yeend Daily Express)
"We get raw thrilling Wiggins, as if we’re his mates in the pub as he tells us how he won the Tour de France and Olympic gold for afters" (Nick Pitt Sunday Times)
"Listening to Bradley Wiggins is a pleasure unmatched in British sport. Whether the topic is gearing or psychology, Wiggins speaks in paragraphs of pure practical wisdom, liberally peppered with swearwords... The latest reflections from the sage of Kilburn ring true and clear" (Rowland Manthorpe Sunday Telegraph)
"It bristles with details of his sinew-straining dedication and the almost maniacal attention to detail that powers any athlete to legend status" (Charlotte Heathcote Sunday Express)
A full-length, in-depth and intimate memoir by Bradley Wiggins charting his journey to become the first Briton ever to win the Tour de France and his country's most decorated Olympian.See all Product description
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In the run up to this year he could be talented, wayward, self deprecating, vaguely self-destructive, passionate, humble, arrogant, and everything else in between. Compared with the other British guys on the scene, he was always a bit of an enigma. He could at times display the passion and eloquence of David Millar, the sheer bloody single mindedness of Mark Cavendish, and - periodically - the humility and affability of Sir Chris Hoy.
Like many, I saw him crash out of the 2011 Tour and thought "Well that's a relief" - his heart didn't seem in it, and Team Sky looked on course to miss their stated goal of winning the premier cycle race within 5 years. Then, early on in the season, things were obviously right at Sky, and more importantly right at the point where it mattered; between Wiggins' ears.
The Tour de France 2012 was, if we're honest, a bit dull - Team Sky just shut the thing down after the first week. But this actually made it more intriguing; it was obviously a team effort, a well oiled machine working at 100%. Perhaps it was also a watershed? The point where the big personalities of old dominated the race through pyramid teams (Merckx, Hainault, Armstrong, etc).
Towards the end of the Tour, it was apparent that Sky could have chosen either Froome or Wiggins to win if they wished.
This is, in essence, what this book is about. Although notionally centred on Wiggins, it really is a narrative of how Team Sky and British Cycling came to dominate 2012 on the road, and on the track. The professionalism, the science, the commitment, and the co-ordination of Brailsford and co really stand out - it is no wonder our cycle stars won so much. Through Wiggins' eyes, we are treated to an insight into this - and mightily jealous I am too. There is no hiding the fact that it didn't always work, but I'd have loved to have had the opportunity to have been part of an organisation such as this.
It also goes a long way in explaining all the praise heaped upon British Cycling by the likes of Hoy, Pendleton, Clancey, Storey, Rowsell, Thomas, Cav, Wiggo, Millar, and so on - it really is world class, and the story of Wiggins in 2012 really captures it. Once you read this book, you'll realise that in reality the BMCs, Rabobanks, OPQS, Katusha, and so on were competing against the combined might of British Cycling. It does beg the question as to how were the European teams so amateurish for so long given the money involved in the sport in the continent?
But really, in my opinion, this is an outstanding appraisal of Dave Brailsford's organisation. Wiggins winning what he did in 2012 is because of Brailsford, without him I think Bradley would still be where he was in 2009; talented, but adrift.
This book starts off in 2010 when Bradley is at the personal and professional lowest point. Then it goes back a year to 2009 where Bradley places 4th in the Tour de France (I think Lance Armstrong place 3rd that year so Bradley might be moved up), showing his potential. Then getting bogged down with team changes, personal tragedy, coaching disputes, to a complete overhaul of his training method and the mythology of cycling training. The reason this is such a big thing is because despite changes in bikes design and aerodynamic improvements cyclists traditionally have the same training schedules as they did in the 70's, simply because it has always been done that way. He started to see gradual improvements, and better results.
Bradley, talks about his feeling for him team mates who trained and sacrificed part of their own lives with him to help him win the 2012 tour. For a sport of individual results there is an amazing about of team work and sacrifice for the team leader. The only other "sport" to do this pro-wrestling where one wrestler put another "over" (lets him win). Bradley talks about the sacrifice his own family had to make to allow him to follow his dream of cycling. Then he talks about the success and highs he feels. He tries to put into words the adrenalin he felt racing in the London Olympics, as I Brit I can feel the energy coming off the page. It takes me back to jumping off the couch every time team GB won a medal. I really did enjoy this book, but I really wish I had read his first book first.
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