How I Won the Yellow Jumper: Dispatches from the Tour de France (Yellow Jersey Cycling Classics) Paperback – 2 Jun 2011
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"A candid, insightful and often hilarious account of how a one-off assignment became a lifetime obsession. Anyone who likes France, cycling, media coverage of sport, obsessives and above all the magic that is the Tour de France will enjoy this book" (Alastair Campbell)
"I thought Ned was an old hand at the Tour. Evidently he was clueless ... Told with panache" (David Millar)
"Lifts the lid on the dirty secrets, the secret shame, the flabby, overhanging underbelly of British TV coverage of the Tour de France. At last, a book about the Tour that's just plain fun" (Matt Rendell)
"Quirky, warped, enthusiastic and funny" (Chris Boardman)
"The Tour de France has inspired some brilliant writing over the years, and this book is right up there" (Adrian Chiles)
A funny and frank account of falling in love with the Tour de France by television's quintessential roving reporter, Ned BoultingSee all Product description
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I would have given it five stars except that the publishers should have done a better job with the proof reading as there are loads of typographical errors from about page 117 onwards which spoilt my reading experience a bit.
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.
To make a comparison;
The previous week, I'd also bought and read Wide Eyed and Legless, and that was such a disappointment (Adrian Timmis is mentioned only twice? Really, a book with no substance, but that's another story).
Not so with this great read. There's a depth of detail I haven't come across in ages; it's consistently funny, brutally honest and thoroughly engaging. Matter of fact, I've read it twice..it's that sort of book-very complete.
The only slight criticism I have-and it's purely personal opinion;
The author recalls an incident whereby an item belonging to one of the riders by chance, comes his way. It's not clarified and therefore unclear as to whether or not said item, was returned to the rider in question. I'd like to think so.
Overall tho,a captivating and extremely enjoyable read. I hope he very soon writes another and I have no doubt that too, would be excellent!
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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