Reviews

THE DIRTIEST RACE IN HISTORY: Ben Johnson, Carl Lewis and the 1988 Olympic 100 M finals (Wisden Sports Writing), 2012, £18.99.

THE TIMES: ‘Magnificent … Plunges you deep into the bitterness that marked their enmity … The breadth and detail is astonishing’

SUNDAY EXPRESS: ‘A captivating and detailed account … it reads like a thriller, which is exactly the right tone to adopt for a story dripping with skulduggery and intrigue’

MAIL ON SUNDAY: ‘Riveting … The book will bring armchair athletes to the edge of their seats – and leave them with a nasty taste in their mouths ****’

THE GUARDIAN: ‘Johnson’s and Lewis’s hatred for each other is stamped on nearly every page, but the real strength of Moore’s account is his depiction of the secondary characters, a cast of megalomaniacal managers and coaches who seem inspired by Victor Frankenstein to push the limits of science and the human body’

***

 

SLAYING THE BADGER: Lemond, Hinault and the Greatest Ever Tour de France (Yellow Jersey), 2011, £12.99

TIMES LITERARY SUPPLEMENT: “captivating…Slaying the Badger is a mixture of clear-eyed journalistic analysis and unashamed nostalgia.”

WALL STREET JOURNAL: “A gripping narrative of this psychological and physical three-week war…The 98th Tour [de France] gets under way today, and it is good to be reminded that the race used to have twice-a-day stages, that helmets didn’t always obscure the riders and that technology once had little place in the Tour.”

Brendan Gallagher in the DAILY TELEGRAPH: “The race and the book builds towards a gripping page turning climax which you don’t want to end.” Full review here

Richard Williams in THE GUARDIAN: “The author recreates the mounting tension between the cunning Hinault and the more cautious LeMond, who scandalises the old-school European riders by reading a book at dinner and playing golf on the tour’s rest days. A former rider who has written for this newspaper, Moore entertainingly unravels the complexities of the relationships within the peloton during a three-week stage race, the sort of battle in which alliances can shift from one mountain peak to another and your enemy’s enemy can suddenly become your most valued friend.”

PROCYCLING magazine: “Moore thrillingly revisits the 1986 Tour de France, which he considers the best edition in its 107 years. An outstanding work of research and reportage, Slaying the Badger is as close as you’ll currently get to definitive biographies of Bernard Hinault and Greg LeMond in the English language. Just as the clash of nationalities, cultures and personalities energised their rivalry and the Tour, so the juxtaposition makes for a compelling documentary in print.”

Moira Gordon in SCOTLAND ON SUNDAY: “From the opening pages this is a book that grips. Combining great insight, interviews and anecdotes with wonderfully-vivid writing, it is thoroughly researched and well written… Like the event itself, the book is so engrossing, you don’t want it to end.” Moira Gordon, Scotland on Sunday, 5 June, 2011

CYCLE SPORT magazine: “This book is worth the cover price for the opening anecdote alone – a scatological, laugh-out-loud, unforgettable vignette involving Greg LeMond, a dicky tummy, and a box of postcards with Bernard Hinault’s face on them. Superb.”

PODIUM CAFE: “As with Moore’s previous two books, this one is underpinned by some fantastic interviews. Hinault and LeMond are obviously the two stars, but they’re almost put in the shade by three very special interviewees: Paul Köchli, Andy Hampsten and Cyrille Guimard.” See full review here

***

Sky's the LimitSKY’S THE LIMIT: British Cycling’s Quest to Conquer the Tour de France (HarperCollins), 2011, £16.99

INDEPENDENT ON SUNDAY: “Is it possible to win the Tour de France without doping? Over the years, few riders seem to have tried, but Dave Brailsford was convinced that it could be done.

“Hailed as a genius after he masterminded British Cycling’s astonishing medal haul at the 2008 Olympics, the following year he turned his attention to the road and Team Sky was born, with the stated aim of winning the Tour with a “clean” British rider within five years. Richard Moore, whose excellent Heroes, Villains And Velodromes chronicled Britain’s success in Beijing, was given generous access by Brailsford and Team Sky, but this is not an authorised book – and is all the better for that. His well-informed, pacy account of last year’s debut season has the twists and turns of a thriller, because things did not go to plan.

“The team had been built around Bradley Wiggins, a double gold medal-winner in Beijing and a surprising fourth in the Tour the following year. But despite Brailsford and his staff deploying the same obsessive attention to detail as they had to the track team, they soon learnt that road racing has infinitely more variables, plus a venerable – and in some cases murky – set of traditions that can seem impenetrable to newcomers. The central problem when it came to the Tour, though, was that Wiggins didn’t seem to have the legs for it. Perhaps fazed by all the attention – “I ended up my own arse a little,” he reflected afterwards – he trailed in a disconsolate 24th. This year may be different. Wiggins seems in good form, last week achieving the biggest road victory of his career in the Dauphiné Libéré. If he is on the Tour podium in Paris in five weeks’ time, reading this will have helped you understand what a huge effort it took to get him there.”

PROCYCLING magazine: “Sky’s the Limit chronicles Team Sky’s first season in the pro elite, focusing in particular on their maiden Tour de France and drawing some interesting conclusions about where they went right and wrong. There are also a number of revealing insights into key figures such as team principal Dave Brailsford and star rider Brad Wiggins.”

CYCLE SPORT magazine: “This book tells the tale of their genesis and development… Of course, Sky’s debut season did not go as planned, but that doesn’t stop it being a fascinating story.”

***

IN SEARCH OF ROBERT MILLAR: Unravelling the Mystery Surrounding Britain’s Most Successful Tour De France Cyclist (HarperSport), 2007, £8.99.

“What really distinguishes the book, apart from the structural innovations, apart from the puzzle itself, is the tone: gentle, wise, vivid when it needs to be, and entirely compelling. The book also stands as a terrific document of subculture history: working-class, sporting, competitive but also mutual. I found myself really moved by the idea of the ‘drum’, on the loch shore, with all its rituals of gratitude and sociability,” Robert Macfarlane

“A gripping read about a fascinating sportsman. Richard Moore goes ‘in search of Robert Millar’, one of sport’s quirkiest, most enigmatic characters, and along the way we learn a lot not just about Millar but about the sport of cycling at an important point in its history, and the psychology of elite sport. Ultimately, in many ways the search proves to be fruitless, but the story is somehow even stronger for that.” Alastair Campbell

“Moore is a gifted writer who covers the failed drugs test, Tours de France, sex-change rumours and ‘escape from Scotland’ with panache, culminating in a captivating e-mail exchange with the reclusive Millar.” Rick Broadbent, The Times.

“A fascinating book… Trying to piece together the Robert Millar story is a little like rummaging around the Mary Celeste but Moore has done splendidly.” Brendan Gallagher, Daily Telegraph

“This book is not only a very interesting study of a little-known man, but also a bible to anybody aiming to be the best in their field, a lesson in how to reach the top and the hardships and sacrifices it takes to get there,” David Millar

“This year’s must-read… Moore’s meticulous but lively book skillfully steers the reader through the Gorbals-born Millar’s early life, pro career and post-retirement disappearance,” Press Association

“A passionate study of the JD Salinger of cycling,” Graham Robb, Daily Telegraph

“Meticulously researched and lovingly constructed,” Alan Fraser, Daily Mail

“A prodigious work of research… delivers overdue illumination of a fascinating Scot,” Doug Gillon, The Herald.

“Richard Moore’s excellent book [is] a fascinating character study of Britain’s most successful Tour de France cyclist. At first, Millar’s taciturn nature and downright arrogance make him anything but likeable. Yet as Moore peels away the prickly exterior, there emerges a darkly humorous, fiercely intelligent man,” Martin Greig, The Herald

“Cycling is a sport that seems to inspire good writing: the pace, drama and characters lend themselves to an unfolding of tension on the page and this exhaustive account is written with genuine passion,” Books Quarterly.

“An extraordinary tale of an extraordinary man,” Andrew Baker, Daily Telegraph

“As riveting a read as any detective story, as well as an intriguing attempt to separate myth from fact,” Metro

“Outstanding,” Scotland on Sunday

“[Moore’s] quarry proves elusive, but the search is worth the trouble… Moore is excellent on the Glaswegian roots, but as Millar climbs to the cycling heights, Moore keeps pace… Here is, probably, the definitive portrait of one of Scotland’s greatest sportsmen: obsessively driven, painfully shy.” William Fotheringham, The Guardian.

“A magnificent book… through the words of Richard Moore and the trail-blazing of the Scot who did, and continues to do, it his way, you will get a great understanding of much of the mystique of the sport,” Phil Liggett

“Fascinating… earnest and lively,” Samuel Abt, International Herald Tribune

“[An] intriguing biography… [Moore’s] text is littered with references which puts the main story into context and adds pace and depth to the narrative, making it read like a cracking novel.” 4sportsbooks.co.uk

***

HEROES, VILLAINS & VELODROMES: Chris Hoy and Britain’s Track Cycling
Revolution (HarperSport), 2008

‘A cracking story…I couldn’t put it down’ Hugh Porter, BBC cycling commentator

‘Like its hero, this book is the real McHoy.’ Scotland on Sunday

‘An excellent book’. The Sunday Times

‘An inspiring tale. And in Richard Moore it has a splendid chronicler.’ Independent on
Sunday

‘A gripping inside story of how Team GB’s cyclists rode to glory,’ Independent on Sunday

‘This is an absolutely must-read book. Moore has cleverly used the very cogent words of others to paint a picture of real characters within a new order,’ Graeme Obree in The Scotsman