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Customer reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
4.4 out of 5 stars
Inside Team Sky
Format: Kindle Edition|Change

TOP 500 REVIEWERon 18 July 2014
I have read and enjoyed most if not all of David Walsh's output over the past few years and this book doesn't disappoint however I have to mention some caveats which have stopped me giving the book 5 stars. Firstly it is a book by a journalist so sometimes the narrative doesn't quite hang together. It gives the impression of being a stitched together work, although the patches are very good indeed. Secondly, anyone who is familiar with Walsh's work will find that old ground is gone over quite a bit. Obviously this helps to put a lot of his reportage into context but if you take all this out, this is actually quite a slim volume. I almost get the impression that Sky is such a well oiled machine that there isn't actually a lot of excitement to be had here, which is porbably to the teams credit when you think about it
The positives do alleviate much of my criticism though. The style may not be to everyone's taste but I find it breezy, easy to read and it doesn't avoid the issues. There is a degree of humanity in his writing as well, where he shows a great degree of empathy and often admiration for the modern cyclist and the teams they cycle for. Lastly he may well have laid many of the ghosts of past Tours de France to rest. We may still have an inkling of cynicism about what is going on in the peleton but it is largely due to Walsh and his ilk that most if perhaps not all of this year's competitors are riding "clean".
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on 6 October 2015
This is a well written account of several months spent with Team Sky. As the lead journalistic investigator into lance Armstrong he has a lot of credibility.
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on 22 January 2014
I admit to to harbouring a dislike for David Walsh due to hounding the heroic Armstrong since 2000
and his links to Paul Kimmage,however he was right and I was one of the many who were fooled. Not being much of a fan of Sky corporation did not help either.
The decision to buy this book was such a good one.It was a lot more than just an insight into a superbly run team but an experts view of many more characters behind the stars. Walsh writes such an informative and entertaining book with humour and previously untold stories that its well worth a second read soon.
He got on so well with the team that no one seemed to object to his presence.David Brailsford,
Chris Froome G etc are amazing people so I will buy Rod Ellingworths book next.
Well done David Walsh and Team Sky you are 5 star performers.
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on 7 April 2016
Book is neither good nor bad. Just one of those books you pick you out of mild interest (to read something a bit different maybe) and once finish put on a shelf to gather dust.

While you will learn a few (very few!) details on the Team Sky machine (controllable controllables !) there is nothing earth shattering and I think quite a few were in the public domain at the time of the book coming out.

Walsh does go over the Armstrong story/issue a bit too often but given that he brought the story to light one can easily forgive him. It works in the context of the book because it’s about “proving” that Sky do not use doping.

What is not addressed is sufficient details what does Team sky do medically different to the past or other teams? Any cyclist will know that even if one is a highly trained professional one needs some form of active recuperation to sustain such high tempo over a 3 week grand tour.

As pointed by a couple of reviews the book does not “flow” well but this is mostly because it is not narrated in chronological order.
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on 23 November 2013
I wasn't sure what to expect from this book. For most of his career as a journalist covering professional cycling, Walsh has been an outsider, fighting to get to the facts of the matter, going against the grain and - ultimately - been proven right. This time it's different - he's on the inside. I didn't really think he would sell out but I did wonder how this book would stand up in comparison to the investigative journalism for which Walsh is most famous. Sure enough, Walsh doesn't sell out and, while he will remain most famous for Seven Deadly Sins etc, this book stands up well to his track record.

I hesitate to award a fifth star because personally I don't much like Walsh's writing style - but that's purely cosmetic and purely a subjective opinion on my part. It doesn't detract in any way from the substance of this book, which is after all what really counts. In that sense, Walsh didn't disappoint me.

Walsh makes clear that when he accepted Sky's invitation to come inside their operation, he did so with a degree of healthy scepticism and a determination to kick over as many rocks as possible and see what he could find - as he says, he had a lot to lose. He found nothing suspicious. That will disappoint a lot of people who are determined to find Sky guilty of doping but it's the truth, insofar as that can be ascertained. If, on the other hand, you dislike Team Sky because of their comparative wealth and their corporate image, this book probably won't change your mind - although there is a lot of good material on their human side (especially regarding Brailsford and Ellingworth but also their riders and back room staff).

There is a good balance of factual and anecdotal evidence and analysis (both are important and the anecdotes show that the culture is very different to the dark days of the peloton's omertà). Make no mistake though, Walsh doesn't gloss over the controversial issues. He goes into considerable detail concerning the cases of Geert Leinders and Jonathan Tiernan-Locke (I think even too much in the case of the latter) and underlines the mistakes Sky made in those cases, especially the former.

If you want to read a scathing critique of current professional cycling and it's most high-profile team, then this isn't it. If you want to read a glowing hagiography to Team Sky, British Cycling, Brailsford and co, then this isn't it. If you want to read a balanced assessment of their operation, and above all if you do so with an open mind, then I think it's fair to say this book does the job.

Both Team Sky and David Walsh potentially had a lot to lose from their cooperation for this book and the scrutiny which it demanded. They both come out of it with their reputations intact - perhaps not enhanced, but intact.
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on 10 April 2015
This book acts as an interesting counterpoint to Walsh's other on Lance Armstrong, which is full of consternation and sadness at the depths to which Cycling as a sport has plunged. Given unfettered access to Team Sky, you can see that Walsh wants to be both fair but also not let anyone off the hook at the slightest wiff of scandal, should it become apparent, during his 12 months with the team. This is book both a great read and a refreshing antidote to all the negative press that both Sky and the sport have taken in recent years. Describes how a clean team can succeed, but not necessarily win popularity stakes at the same time. Enjoyable whether you are a cyclist or not. Recommended.
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on 13 May 2015
An interesting insight into Team Sky, however it suffers from being rather news-like, ie it has dated quickly as the story moves on and most of the information has been well covered in newspapers and magazines since. Just about worth a Kindle read.
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on 26 December 2014
The premise of this book never quite sat right with me. David Walsh, sports writer with the Murdoch owned Sunday Times, writing an "inside story" of a season of the Team Sky cycling team, whose main sponsor is also part of the Murdoch empire.
Walsh's reputation as a fearless investigative reporter who never gave up on revealing the truth about Lance Armstrong is such that he probably thought that this obvious conflict of interest would be glossed over.
However it was always in the back of my mind as I read the book. I have no doubt that Walsh approached his task with complete professionalism but each time he voices his obvious admiration for the Team Sky methodology I wondered if this could be taken at face value. After all if Team Sky were so anxious to have an independent pair of eyes have access to all areas of their operation for a year why not choose someone like Paul Kimmage, equally respected as an anti-doping campaigner but who longer is part of the Murdoch empire?
We see Sky's reaction to questions over the veracity of some of Chris Froome's brilliant performances in the Tour de France. Having said Team Sky will not accept any whiff of doping in the team they seem taken aback that journalists would question whether Froome is for real.
Despite what I've said above the book is a fascinating account of how a top class cycling team operates. Walsh gets great insights into all the people in the team, both cyclists and back-room team members.
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on 9 January 2014
All followers of cycling know of David Walsh who, when asked "Who would you like to win the Tour de France in 2000" said "Anyone but Lance Armstrong". Even back then he was sure that Armstrong was cheating and so many fans (myself included) wanted to believe the amazing story of someone who had defeated cancer to win the toughest sporting event in the World. Despite being cast as a pariah, and being sued by Armstrong David Walsh stuck to his beliefs - the rest is history.
Who better then to be given the opportunity of having such free access to Team Sky? Just being invited to investigate, ask questions of all the riders and staff and root around to try to discover the use of any methods/treatments or use of performance enhancing drugs which are outside the rules goes a long way to giving confidence in Sky`s operations. What David Walsh also discovers and explains to the reader is Sky`s attention to detail, their team spirit amongst all the riders and staff and their constant search for legal ways of achieving "marginal gains". I also read at the same time "Easy Rider" by Rob Hayles - also highly recommended - but his description of his 2 years with Cofidis goes a long way to explain why a rider from a French team has not won the Tour for many years and explains how Sky achieved their goal of winning the Tour well within their 5 year plan. I highly recommend this book by David Walsh.
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on 30 January 2015
This book gave a fascinating insight into how Team Sky approach the tour and the challenges they face. Dave Brailsford is a fantastic leader and real visionary with a very honest and open approach. Let's hope they win is again soon and I would love to see G Thomas winning the tdf one year.
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