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on 11 June 2011
As a Team Sky fan, Richard Moore's latest publication was eagerly anticipated. An esteemed writer and cycling blogger, Moore's previous offerings, the excellent `In Search of Robert Millar' and `Heroes, Villains and Velodromes' have set the bar high. 'Sky's the Limit' does not disappoint.

Although Moore appears to have been granted unprecedented access from day one, perhaps surprisingly the book is neither authorised or official. This is good as it has allowed Moore to document the evolution of Team Sky and it's debut season warts and all.

The book is a journey with Team Sky the central character. But, as the sub-title suggests 'British Cycling's Quest to Conquer the Tour de France' it's clear that the Team Sky project was a culmination of the total domination by the British Track Team and the hugely successful British Cycling Academy that was producing world class talent in the shape of Geraint Thomas and Mark Cavendish etc. The natural progression was to take the principles of the track and the World Class Performance programme onto the road.

Moore eloquently guides the reader through the early day's, confirming that Cavendish was originally first choice to lead the team before an apparent fall-out led to him signing a contract extension with Columbia High-Road just day`s before the official launch of Team Sky. Without a dominant British star for the all new British team the book chronicles the ensuing prising of Bradley Wiggins from Garmin, and to a lesser degree Ben Swift from Katusha, this and the apparent `new kids on the block' muscling in with their Jaguars, state of the art bus, and unprecedented philosophy resulted in a subsequent knock-on effect from the other teams that ultimately led to a ganging-up at the Tour of Oman.

Moore is able to witness first-hand and document the training camps, rider selection, the `marginal gain' attention to detail and the new coaching methods that Team Sky introduced, although such was not always well received by the traditionalists and in the early day's led to several staff members parting company, in particular `Senior' Sports Director, Scott Sunderland. A fascinating insight into the behind-the-scenes activities and innovations that haven't really been seen before on the road.

But it's the Tour de France that takes centre stage. After the fight to obtain a Tour contender and the stated aim of providing a clean British winner within five years all eye's were on Bradley. Moore was there, at the hotel's, riding in the team car, interacting with staff and riders - his account provides a fascinating testimony of the race and the disappointment by all when it started to fall apart. Knowing that Moore's book was in the pipeline, fair play to Team Sky for allowing him to stick around when it all started to go wrong.

The book culminates in the ill-fated Veulta a Espana, where half the team suffered from illness and tragically soigneur Txema Gonzalev contracted a bacterial infection and subsequently died aged just 43, forcing the team to withdraw from the race, and finally the Tour of Britain where according to Moore an apparent lack of confidence and insecurity contributed to the Team's failure to secure a win on home soil.

Moore quite rightly states that Team Sky should not be judged after just one season. The Team did enjoy considerable success in 2010 - The Tour Down Under, Het Nieuwsblad, Russ Downing's excellent Criterium International... Unfortunately a major classic victory, or overall success in a stage race eluded them but as Dave Brailsford said to a fan at the Tour of Britain "We'll be back, we've learnt a lot, it hasn't been easy but we've learnt a lot".

'`Sky's the Limit' is an excellent read, well written, superbly researched and apparently impartial. The story of Team Sky's debut season but without the spin. I thoroughly recommend it and eagerly look forward to the sequel...
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on 16 August 2012
I started to read this book just prior to the start of the 2012 Tour de France, and finished it almost at the same time that Bradley Wiggings saluted the crowd from the numer 1 spot of the podium at Paris' most famous Avenue. The book indeed met my expectations. It is a frank, honest and revealing report of what I should describe as "The Brailsford Method". Being a fanatic cyclist myself, and living in Flanders, I did have my reservations about this approach when Sky stormed into the cycling world, clearly intending to get rid of the so called old fashioned methods. However, it became rapidly clear that it required more than a scientific approach, highly sophisticated tools, a state of the art teamcoach and expensive, flashy cars, to pull down what can be described as the century old (continental) cycling culture in all its aspects. Brailsford's determination to reduce the "variables" that can influence a road race, to a low 1 or 2% quickly turned out to be an unrealistic ambition. As David Millar rightly pointed out, the strength of Sky was also its weakness, and Sky had to accept that these variables could not get any lower than 20 to 25%. The team management also realized quite quickly that one needed to invest in the effort to get accepted by the peleton, rather than to tell these people what they should do and how they should do it. The book describes this proces very well and the behind-the-scenes developments, the anger, the frustrations, the joy and misery make for an absorbing read. And, yes, in the meantime it seems that Brailsford's great ambition, to win the Tour de France within 5 years of starting the Sky project, was not an elusive dream. The big challenge will be however to confirm this in the next season, to keep the team happy and go for a repeat performance. I just wonder what will happen should another full blooded British professional cycling team enter the peleton. Would Brailsford still be able to combine his Sky job with that of British Cycling supremo??? While I strongly recommend this fascinating book to everyone interested in the business side of professional cycling, there is an unfortunate sloppy (and to me, Fleming) rather annoying mistake: in one of the final chapters, when doping is (again) discussed, the name of the famous Festina "soigneur" Willy Voet is wrongly spelled (Voight). I hope this will be put right in the next editions
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VINE VOICEon 12 September 2011
Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
As an avid cycling fan, I was keen to read this as soon as it came available.

I was wary though, as it wasn't an 'official' or 'authorised' insight, and was worried it might be 300 pages of nonsense and made up random nonsense to sell copies.

However, I needn't have worried. The book is simply excellent. Eloquently written, in a manner that aids and encourages continuous reading, I found it a fascinating insight into the creation and development of Team Sky in their first year.

As Richard Moore states at the end of the book, it isn't authorised or official as he wanted to be able to write what was true and accurate, and not controlled by a PR machine. This said, Team Sky seem to have been incredibly cooperative and given some real insights into the structure.

I thought I knew a lot about cycling, and the processes and unwritten etiquette etc, but the book sheds light on some additional areas I was not aware of.

As a Team Sky and British Cycling fan I was disappointed with Team Skys performance in the 2010 Tour de France, and their insistence to push Brad Wiggins, when he clearly wasn't at the top of his game, and others were. Its interesting to hear Dave Brailsford's (and Richard Moore's for that matter) views on the situation and how they could have done things differently.

I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book, and would highly recommend it to any British Cycling or Team Sky fan - or any cycling fan for that matter. A great insight into a new protour team hitting the circuit - and learning on their feet.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 22 January 2012
Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
A must of any road cycling fan, this is an insight into the development of the Sky cycling team from the initial idea onto the 2010 Tour de France. Cycling fans will of course already know what happened there and that there was much more to come from the team in 2011 and more is expected in 2012. In some ways the book feels a little premature and that the real story is still waiting to be told. However, there is much of interest in this book and the development of the team is worth reading in its own right.

The hard work that is put in behind the scenes is where this book focused and it's well worth reading. Recommended for cycling fans and I'm looking forward to reading the next installment.
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on 30 January 2013
It's a rather dry recap of the last few years. No new insights. Makes Sky sound very robotic, no emotion, still can't get excited about this team. Brilliant results for the Brits though of course, simply fantastic. But oh so dull. This book passed a bit of time, if you're not into pro cycling though you will fall asleep. It seems that Sky's success was simply due to much more professional management. That's the book's main focus but without enough useful detail.
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on 16 October 2012
This was recommended by a friend to show examples of a particular management approach. It's got interesting stuff in it, but I read it in patches, rather than all through as I would a novel. It is full of good things, but not an easy bedtime book!

Cycling fans should love it, and the insights into the team and Wiggy, Cavendish and the rest are tasty.

Worth buying and one to which I will return - but not take on holiday.
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on 7 June 2013
A well written book that really does get inside the world of team racing. Richard Moore is able to give a well balanced non biased insight that will appeal to both enthusiasts and 'first timers' alike. Some candid accounts from the Sky team makes for a really enjoyable read.
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VINE VOICEon 22 December 2011
Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
This book maybe a great source of material for a future writer. However unfortunately it read like one of those essays written at university, where you have done the research but the deadline looms and you need to submit quickly. It was a pity that whatever deadline loomed Richard Moore had to finish this book before Mark Cavendish took the decision to join Sky. However even without that, large parts of the books seem to just be transcripts of conversations with no analysis, and some points seem to be repeated.
My husband a keen cyclist, and reader of books about cycling, gave up at the most half way through. I got to the end, but was disappointed. There is an interesting story to tell about the Sky cycling team. However this book is not it, and it might be a bit premature to write the teams "Autobiography" yet anyway.
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on 19 September 2016
Written in a more "tabloid" style than the other Richard Moore books I've read, but interesting none the less in describing the founding and operation of the Sky road racing team, and how it grew out of the successful British track cycling outfit.
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TOP 50 REVIEWERVINE VOICEon 27 September 2011
Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Sky's the Limit is written around the third stage, road racing, of an ongoing plan to establish the GB cycling brand as a World name. The plan includes forming a GB team for the Tour de France with a sponsorship deal from SKY. Highly detailed cycling background, well researched and written in a way that should be interesting for all but, obviously, aimed at those with a serious interest in cycling. I hadn't realised that there was anything like a GB academy, set up for elite cyclists, and that Mark Cavendish came through that academy on his way to becoming a World star (though not yet a member of the GB team). Thoroughly enjoyed this unique insight into GB cycling and how it's being transformed into a major player on the World Stage.
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