“Hurtful in its telling of unwelcome truths yet powerful in its capture of what it takes, legally and illegally, to compete.”
NO MAJOR SPOILERS
Paul Kimmage’s diary and description of the grimmer, prosaic, desperate, and downright sleazy aspects of professional cycling ought to have received a great deal of press, but there is a strong sense that the cycling world isn’t interested in vindicating one of it’s own. If you’re looking for the flashier, reality-television seamy underbelly of professional cycling and the organized doping of Lance Armstrong, et alia. (i.e. Sopranos with bikes but less outwardly-directed violence) that has been covered at length already, this is not the book for you.
There are plenty of other books far more appropriate for that kind of Schadenfreude. Kimmage offers readers here the more mundane; and therefore, even more bleak corruptions of the sport: brutal exploitation, dreadfully incompetent directeurs sportif, constant and exhaustive fear, and most heartbreaking of all…merciless disillusionment. This book is for those who love cycling, but are grown up enough to realize why professional cycling can and should never be uncritically idealized.