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on 28 June 2008
There is nothing revelatory in this book. This, I feel, is a legitimate complaint given its title. No secrets are disclosed: instead we get a history of the doping scandals during Whittle's career in cycling journalism. That's fine, but they have all been documented elsewhere, and in more detail, by the likes of Kimmage, Walsh and Rendell. Also, while Whittle rightly criticises omerta, he admits in this book that he knew of a journalist who transported drugs for a rider. Unless he has informed the UCI of their names, Whittle is equally complicit.

That said, it is well-written and has some interesting accounts of meeting Armstrong, Riis, Lemond and Verbruggen over the years. He has had the habit of being in the right place at the right time - filming a documentary on Armstrong just before he won his first Tour proved quite a coup.

The book documents Whittle's arrival at the same conclusion about doping most of us fans made years ago. Not only is he about twenty years behind Kimmage, he is even behind Matt Rendell - who finally had his epiphany with The Death of Marco Pantani: one of the best sports books you will ever read, and where I suggest you go before this.

Readable, but unnecessary.
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on 9 December 2008
Although it's true that Whittle adds nothing new to the doping scandals or taint of cheating that cycling simply cannot shake off, this is still a very enjoyable read. Those with only a passing interest in the sport will learn a lot about the politics, tactics, personalities and relationships that characterise it. Those who find it compelling will no doubt identify with Whittle's own sense of betrayal and disbelief that his sport is truly rotten all the way to the core.

I don't agree with other comments that Whittle goes out of his way to link Armstrong to the cheats. What I got from it was the sense that here was a guy who was super-talented, had overcome the very worst odds and was popular with the non-cycling public - someone who could have made some kind of statement against doping - and didn't. That's the pity, the loss.

All in all, a hugely engaging read. But if you want the original (and still the best) dish on cycling's dirty secrets, you still can't do better than Paul Kimmage's "Rough Ride". That is simply the best book on the topic, by someone who actually rode in and finished a Tour.
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on 19 January 2009
Good and Easy to read book,I fnished it in 3 sessions over 3 days, so it held my interest. As others have said its low on detail but given the subject and the fact that getting inside gritty details due to the Omerta isn't exactly easy.

No major revelations beyond what is in the public domain, however if you are interested in cycling and want to know the scale of the problems with doping in cycling then this gives you a good introduction.

I personally liked the style of writing and some good focus on D.Millar and Armstrong in particular. Brave writing in my view given the defensive capabilities of Armstrong. It shows the personalities behind the corporate persona's. Despite his past sins I thought Millar came across as an OK guy, who just got caught up in the tide.

I do doubt if Mr Whittle will be getting any Christmas cards from the Peleton anytime soon.
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on 16 November 2008
Its an interesting book, but as others have said, nothing new in here. The flow of the story is a little dis-jointed and I found myself trying to work out where in the timeline I was half the time. Not a must have book for fans of the Tour De France. What is written is in many cases likely true but I became extremely bored and irrated very quickly with the constant talk of Lance Armstrong and any drug issue. The man has never been tested positive, can we please just let it go now.
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on 17 April 2013
A well thought out and well researched book,written in a very readable style.It is a narrative of why cycling fell into the state it has been in for the last few years.
I think I made the same journey as Jeremy Whittle. I loved the Tour in the late 1980s , but have become increasingly disenchanted with it during the doping years, without knowing too much about the reasons why. This Book fills the gaps in my knowledge. Bearing in mind that the first edition came out well before the Armstrong revelations last year , and also bearing in mind the Libel laws of this country,(and the litigous nature of The Texan) he deserves a lot of Credit for writing this Book. It was very brave at the time it was written, and deserves to be judged in that light.
I hope , that like me, he has made the same journey back and now enjoys watching the Tour again

Well done Jeremy
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on 3 July 2013
Just a good summary of all the books that have been written in recent years regarding the problems with doping in the pro peleton. Not much in there that I hadnt read already.
Quite informative if you dont want to read everybody elses books on why they cheated!
Interesting in the views from the author on certain people who have came clean since this book was written.
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on 10 April 2013
A well written book that lifts the lid on the race and all its participants. The code of silence that was adhered to and the bullying those who dared speak out received. Cycling should never have become so poisoned. Thanks to good investigative writing like this the cheating and cheats are outed.
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on 26 February 2009
I thought this book was a good read and would be very interesting to anyone who has any interest in cycle racing but who has not read everything else going about drug use in the sport. Nothing in it came as a surprise to me unfortunately. I think it a bit unfair to castigate the writer for not revealing new names- does it say anywhere that he will? And how exactly would such a scoop be first published in a book (as opposed to newspaper, TV etc)- be reasonable.

Gripe: his view of the 1980s is much too rose-tinted. Ok, LeMond may well have been a clean rider. But the writer paints a picture of doping as being less prevalent in the 1980s which I think is rubbish. Perhaps this is done for dramatic effect to contrast the earlier times to the Great Evil of EPO that the book is focussed on. But remember the quote to Jeff Connor in 1988 by a team director that >90% of teams were not clean? So what's new...

The book left me feeling very annoyed indeed, thinking that perhaps Riis' attacks on Indurain would have failed without EPO. But that is hardly this writer's fault.
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on 13 August 2012
Have belatedly just read this book, always had my doubts about Armstrong just too good to be true.
If only for the sake of the people that he has trodden on lets hope based on what is happening in the US Courts at the moment that what goes around comes around.
Brilliant read couldn't put it down. A must.
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There were many good things about this book; fantastic character portraits of the riders, all so vividly drawn. And it was certainly a gripping insider account, very subjective, explaining one Tour journalist's journey towards disenchantment. It won't give you definitive answers to the question of who takes drugs today, but it explains the issues involved quite clearly.

On the downside, the author jumped around a lot in time, which often led to complete confusion on my part. The narrative would have been much more enjoyable if it had been better organised - sometimes it even skipped back and forth from one paragraph to the next. It also is very much one man's point of view, which is clearly irritating to some reviewers here, though I rather enjoyed that bit of it.

But on balance, very interesting for a non-expert reader like myself, and to have captured the strong personalities of the cyclists is a great achievement.
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