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Fortysomething, photographer slacker, working in IT, living in Greenwich; failed polymath; drinks and eats too much, reads too little...

Boy Racer: My Journey to Tour de France Record-Breaker

Boy Racer: My Journey to Tour de France Record-Breaker - Mark Cavendish More memoir than biography this book covers the fourteen days that Mark Cavendish spent in the 2008 Tour de France. Each chapter tells the story of a stage. As Cavendish relates the stage, each chapter also falls back to a story from his past - from his childhood, from his academy days or from his more recent days as a neo-pro. The transitions feel both natural and relevant. My only real niggle is that some chapters felt a little light on the details of the present day stage race. Which, after all, is what the book is supposed to be about.

It's not entirely clear how much help Cavendish had with the writing, no ghost writer is listed but the back of the book thanks Daniel Friebe for his 'help'. That said, either Friebe is a fantastic ghost writer or his touch was very light as this book reads exactly like you'd imagine Cavendish would tell you the story. Swearing, humour, arrogance and humility, as well as stories and opinions about colleagues that you imagine they'd rather he didn't tell are all in here. They add to the realism and manage to avoid being just an opportunity for Cavendish to tell you why some professional cyclists are even bigger arses than himself.

At the end of the book is a small epilogue that quickly skims you over the rest of his year up to the point where he presumably wrote the book. This edition also has an equally whirlwind telling of the 2009 Tour de France in a final chapter. While a nice extra to convince people to bye this second printing, it probably warrants a second book rather than just an extra chapter. Both these final sections lack the level of engagement that was in the main book and felt a little rushed.