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Book Review – by Nigel Scales




One of the benefits of the surge in cycling’s popularity over the last few
years has been that it seems to have become easier for riders to publish
their memoirs, providing wider availability of insights into the world of
professional bike racing. As a parallel development, public libraries have
been stocking these books, often with multiple copies. And so it was that,
as I killed time one Saturday while my youngest daughter chose the dozen
library books that would keep her occupied until at least Monday, my eyes
alighted on a prominently displayed copy of Sean Yates newly-published
autobiography “It’s All About The Bike”, which I quickly grabbed, since it
was already on my “books to read” list. It enlivened my commute to and
from work for the best part of a week and, while not impossible to put down,
certainly kept me going back for more.


I can’t say I knew much about Sean’s career and, though he’s only about 3
years younger than me, I don’t recall seeing his name when I was racing
first time around, so the book was all the more interesting for throwing
light on his early career for me, though the insights from later on his career
when he was on domestique duty in continental Europe were also fascinating.
I particularly liked the anecdotes about him terrorising his team-mates in
a team time-trial and when chasing down a break. The TTT incident
resonated with me as I know what it feels like to be the weak link in a TTT
and have also found myself in the position of being one of the stronger
riders (it’s all relative… J ) though I found it hard to envisage being in
Sean’s position and blasting away at the front while the previous year’s
Giro d’Italia winner was in tears behind, trying to hold position as Sean put
in 10 minute turns, compared to the few seconds on the front managed
by the other riders in the squad. I also had to smile at the thought of Sean
tapping out a hard tempo on the front of the peloton and shouting over
his shoulder to a young Lance Armstrong and the rest of the team,
suffering in his wake, something along the lines of “I say chaps, I don’t
suppose there’s any possibility that one of you might do a turn on the


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