#tdfleeds ‘Inside Team Sky’

Inside Team SkyAs Team Sky make another run for the Yellow Jersey, how about this great read from top sportswriter and award winning journalist David Walsh, who brings an insider’s view to the 2013 race.

Inside Team Sky tells the story of how Team  Sky were under pressure  to repeat their fantastic success  after their victory with Bradley Wiggins in the 2012 Tour de France in the 2013 race. When Bradley Wiggins had to pull out of the defence of his yellow jersey, Chris Froome, who had finished as runner-up in 2012 became the team’s focal point.

Could he secure back-to-back victories for the UK and for Team Sky? With team principal Sir Dave Brailsford at the helm, expectations were high. David Walsh was embedded within the team  and he provides a definitive account of a dramatic race that gripped cycling fans around the world.

David Walsh has also written books about Lance Armstrong –  LA Confidential and 5* read and bestseller Seven Deadly Sins: My Pursuit of Lance Armstong 

#tdfleeds ‘The Climb’ by Chris Froome

The climbAnother interesting cycling read to celebrate this Saturday’s Grand Depart of the Tour de France from Leeds is the autobiography of Chris Froome, the 2013 Tour winner.

Almost dropped by Team Sky a couple of years ago because of poor results, he was unaware that he was actually battling multiple debilitating and undiagnosed illnesses. Some of these were contracted in his boyhood in Kenya and ‘The Climb’ tells the fascinating and rather extraordinary story of his journey from a young boy riding around Nairobi through townships and past wild animals, and with few opportunities for an aspiring cyclist, to his unforgettable yellow jersey victory in the 2013 Tour.

Brought up by his mum in Kenya, he started cycling as a boy on a mountain bike under the wing of David Kinjah, whose philosophy was ‘you just get on a bike and go.’

He’s since had to cope with her death of his mother and battle his way to the top – his early results were poor! The books also chronicles his public rivalry with Bradley Wiggins and, most recently, the pressures of Lance Armstrong’s legacy.

#tdfleeds ‘Put me back on the bike’

Put me back on my bike: in search of Tom SimpsonThe Tour de France starts in Leeds on Saturday and one of the books we’ve been reading is Put me back on the bike’ by William Fotheringham. It’s about Tom Simpson, Olympic gold medallist, world champion and first Briton to wear the fabled yellow jersey of the Tour de France. He died a tragic death on the barren moonscape that is Mont Ventoux during the 1967 tour.

The book details Simpson’s rise to cycling fame from working class roots, his move to France with £100 in his pocket and his pursuit of winning at all costs and what motivated him.

He was a man of contradictions, one of the first cyclists to admit to using drugs or ‘tonics’ as they were often called, and a self publicist ahead of his time. He was also accused of fixing racesCycling is my life yet despite his flaws, ‘Major Tom’ as he was known was deeply mourned. The part about his actual death shows someone with an obsessive will to win and is very affecting. Highly recommended.

Tom Simpson wrote his own autobiography ‘Cycling is my Life’