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4.4 out of 5 stars
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4.4 out of 5 stars
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on 2 June 2005
Many sports books are written to celebrate the glory of winning and achievement. Kimmages book is different because it is an honest account of an also-ran, a dreamer, a slogger. Paul never enjoyed the trappings of success, never earned anything more than a pithy wage and experienced in rare measure the dream of winning.
Against all this, Paul is forced to deal with the ever-present tumour of doping in cycling. As he struggles to accept his physical limitations as a human cyclist, he finds himself having also to compete against the drugs that fuel those around him to success. Eventually he leaves the sport, disillusioned, bitter but with his head held high.
The honesty, frankness and innocence of the book makes it compelling stuff, and I think it should appeal to anyone, not just those interested in cycling or sport. The 1998 drugs scandal, which happened several years after this book was published, sadly verifies much of what Kimmage describes.
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on 26 April 2002
I think Paul Kimmage's book is outstanding. The newer edition adds details of the events following the book's first publication (about 12 years ago) into context and how it affected not only the sport of cycling but Kimmage's relationships with one-time pro colleagues (such as Stephen Roche) and the pro cycling 'brotherhood' generally. It is especially sad that the book led to him being an outcast yet in 1998 when half the peloton in the Tour de France were found to be doping, it was treated as a huge shock - yet Kimmage and others had tried before to reveal the truth. This book is a superb contrast to books by authors such as Graeme Fife, whose dewey eyed reviews of glorious champions and direct criticism of Kimmage's book are really put in their place. Read this book if you really want to find out about cycling.
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on 12 August 2006
Having just read Matt Rendell's Death of Marco Pantani and Willy Voet's Breaking the Chain, this is the book which puts everything into perspective.The gritty reality of the world of the domestique as portrayed through Paul's experiences offers the reader great insight into this lifestyle and is written in such a manner that you just can't put the book down.

Thoroughy recommended reading for anybody interested in cycling.
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on 9 December 2008
I know that some have complained about Kimmage's bitterness, but that's what makes this book so good - it's for real, he doesn't shy away from examining himself, his own failures and his own role in what went on.
That he felt wretched being a part of the politics and cheating is part and parcel of an aspect of cycling that few people knew about until recently. Kimmage's high-profile spat with Stephen Roche was a precursor to Greg LeMond v Armstrong - for similar reasons.
This book was a genuine ground-breaker - Kimmage really put his neck on the line and had to face the predictable fallout for what he wrote. A far cry from the disingenuous "apologies" and press conference conversions we've seen from the likes of Bjarne Riis.
The original and still the best. Unfortunately, it's still all-too relevant.
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on 20 October 2003
This book is about how Kimmage develops and nurtures his boyhood dream – to become a successful and respected professional cyclist – and how this dream is gradually undermined and eventually smashed by the corrupt nature of the sport he so dearly loves. A central theme is how his high moral principles with regard to drug taking are gradually eroded away as he himself struggles to stay in touch with the gruelling demands of tour cycling. His account of drug abuse in the sport is truly shocking. But the book is far more than an exposé of drugs in sport. It’s an adventure that provides a real inside view of the hectic and difficult life that a pro-cyclist has to endure, in most cases for relatively meagre reward. Nothing like the boyhood dream. It’s about the trials and tribulations, the joy, frustration, anguish, pain, and many other emotions Kimmage goes through during his cycling career. The writing is absolutely superb – read the book and you’ll feel the emotion for yourself. Can’t recommend it more highly.
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on 17 May 2006
A fantastic book with a very honest story which grabs your attention from page 1. If you have any interest in cycling (mtbiking, road, leisure etc) this will interest you and may also be of interest to readers with an interest on the influence of drugs in sport.

Paul Kimmage had the going for glory dreams that we all have even now in adulthood. His honest and sometimes very shocking description of what actually goes on in pro cycling is very intreging.

Homourous moments also throughout the book....a must read
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on 24 March 2004
Over the last few years the sport of cycling has been badly tarnished by the use of drugs, and some believe that every professional cyclist cheats using them, even if they've been tested negative by the officials.
This book is a real eye-opener into the whole issue, it openly describes what goes on within the peloton, "charging up" before races. However, one huge important fact comes through. They're not taking drugs to cheat, not to win the race. They're taking drugs to get them to the finish line, even if it's in last place, to be able to start again the next day, to avoid the humiliation of abandoning.
If you have an interest in any sport,or you have any opinion of drugs use in sport, I highly recommend you read this book.
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on 1 May 2005
In short this book is about a dream. A dream to become a pro cyclist and compete in the Tour de France and how that dream is soured by the harsh reality of professional cycling and the illegal substances inherent in the sport.
Its written with passion and honesty and the sections dealing with the tour de France are breathlessly exciting.
Easily the best sports book I've ever read.
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on 4 September 2006
Probably the best sporting autobiography I have read, in my opion it beats It's not about the bike hands down. Shows how little money these guys made and how much of themselves they had to give just to remain at the periphery of professionalism in the sport. Made me wonder what happens to the others who don't end up as writrs/jourmalists.
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on 30 December 1998
This book is a must for anyone who has an interest in the world of Professional Cycling. The author describes his struggle to become a professional cyclist from his early days in Ireland (training partners included Stephen Roche and Martin Earley) to making the big time in the French RMO team.
The underlying theme of the book is the transition from wide eyed youthful innocence to the realisation that that the sport of professional cycling is rotten to the core. This book portrays a sport where drug taking is the norm and races are fixed beforehand, and the author describes his own struggle between sporting idealism and the reality of taking drugs just to survive.
The book tackles issues that have never been discussed or even acknowledged before and for that Paul Kimmage should be congratulated. The response to the book from his colleagues was invariably negative, and this outspoken but honest account shatters the illusions that many people have about professional cycling.
If you want an in depth account of the appallingly hard life of a continental pro cyclist then this book has not been bettered.
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