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Ventoux: Sacrifice and Suffering on the Giant of Provence Hardcover – 1 Jun 2017
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'Heart-stirring and jaw-dropping in equal measure' (Tim Moore)
'Highly recommend Jeremy Whittle's Ventoux - a fascinating and expert insight into the mountain and into the current state of pro racing' (Peter Cossins)
'My favourite sports book of this year. Really textured, well-written, atmospheric and intelligent.' (Ed Pickering)
About the Author
Jeremy Whittle is cycling correspondent to The Times and has been writing about European cycling since 1994. He is the acclaimed author of Bad Blood: the Secret Life of the Tour de France and collaborated with David Millar on his best-selling autobiography, Racing Through The Dark. Both books were shortlisted for the William Hill Sports Book of the Year award. Jeremy is also a former editor of procycling magazine, a PPA Awards nominee, and has contributed to the BBC, Sky, CNN, L'Équipe and numerous other international media.
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I purchased this book at the start of the ‘2017 Tour de France’ and it was back-ground reading for the duration of the Tour. I do not know which was most exciting, watching the Tour on TV or reading the book. This guy can write! I would like to have seen some more towns on the area map, especially some of those referred to in the text. It’s good to know where NOT to leave your saddle unattended.
This book is about the role that a tall, lone ‘mountain’ in the south of France may have influenced competitive cycling in the modern era. It is a well written, wide ranging and thought provoking. It is also up to date on all that is good and bad in the sport. Whittle asks some deep searching questions that stimulates the reader to ask more. The section on Female cycling was extremely revelling (Re: Nicole Cooke and Colleagues) and how they had/have been marginalised by the various Governing Bodies. Sadly this is a common theme in Woman’s sport (Cricket and Football immediately come to mind, where they so often outperform their male counterparts) and until women take control of their own Governing Bodies (perhaps even outside the current provision), equality remains but a dream. Nothing focuses a NGB more than a splinter group now fighting for ‘their’ (male) funding.
The book inevitably raises intelligent questions about doping; past and present in the sport. The infamous ‘jiffy bag’ which was the subject of a Parliamentary inquiry clearly demonstrates that SKY’s policy of ‘transparity’ is only for the partially sighted. As a Sports scientist myself, I find it incredulous that SKY only take blood samples from the team to ‘monitor hydration levels’ when other sports use such samples to identify those performers who’s hormones and enzymes indicate the exact state of the performers body. If this is true, then the team manager needs replacing. It also became apparent how the Team Manager failed to protect both the team and key performers from the rigors of the Press and often bought further confusion to an already questionable situation.
I can highly recommend this book as an exceptional read for both the avid cyclist as well as the non-active individual. Don’t be put off by all the awe inspiring language about ‘the Giant’; It is an enjoyable and liberating cycle; I’ve been up it on my steel Roberts, fully laden with all my camping & expedition gear (including stove). It took me 4Hrs 10mins to go up from Bedoin and 45mins to go down and I was well over 60. It’s a great ride!
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