At Speed: My Life in the Fast Lane
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Written off as "fat" and "useless" in his youth, Mark Cavendish has sprinted to the front of the Tour de France peloton to become cycling's brightest star--and its most outspoken.
Following his debut book Boy Racer, Cavendish has truly come of age as one of the best cycling sprinters of all time.
In At Speed, the Manx Missile details what it took to become the winningest Tour sprinter ever, examines the plan that led to his world championship victory, reveals the personal toll of his sacrifice that helped teammate Bradley Wiggins become the UK's first-ever Tour de France winner, and confesses his bitter disappointment at the London Olympic Games.
Screaming fights with teammates, rancorous contract negotiations, crushing disappointments--for Mark Cavendish, winning is always the cure. His book At Speed is the page-turning story of a living legend in the sport of cycling.
Championship the weekend before the Tour, we’d had a short get-together for the guys likely to make the team and discussed how we could accumulate more rankings points, thereby entitling us to a bigger quota of riders in the Worlds. The race itself was an absolute bloodbath, on a course like an Alpine Tour stage, with 4,500 metres of vertical climbing in Lancashire, and only 11 riders finishing on the same lap as the winner, Geraint Thomas. I didn’t even finish. With Geraint’s team, Team Sky,
started the next climb, the Col d’Aspin. Jens Voigt had crashed on the descent of the Peyresourde, and he now helped us to make good ground for the first half of the climb, before pounding up the mountain on his own. After another breakneck descent, we caught the gruppetto at the foot of the Col du Tourmalet – one of the highest passes in the Pyrenees and the climb that had prompted Lapize’s ‘Murderers!’ diatribe in 1910. I was now shivering with fever. To make matters worse, Ivan Basso, the
incidentally, Rod would send us some GB team kit to train in and get used to weeks before the Worlds. For all the planning, certain lessons and knowledge could only be picked up in an environment like the one we’d find in Melbourne and Copenhagen – a World Championship race. Therefore, although we didn’t think that we could win in Mendrisio, and although I wasn’t riding, Rod still viewed the 2009 Worlds as essential testing ground. After years of going to World Championships and riding around
one. My expectations were high, but this surpassed them. Dave Brailsford made a speech that captivated everyone, about what the team had already achieved and what our targets for 2012 would be. The attention to detail – from the meals we ate to our clothing fittings for the coming year – was a notch above even what I’d seen at HTC, where we’d always been ahead of the curve. Team Sky had gained a reputation for professionalism at the expense of enjoyment, but that weekend in Milan suggested that
even changed its course. Stage five, rolling west out of Cagnes-sur-Mer towards Marseille 228 kilometres away, appeared to represent nothing more complicated or nostalgia-inducing than an opportunity to win my stage. Instead, it turned into a odd sort of journey down memory lane. First, after 140 kilometres we bowled into a town whose name I vaguely recognised, through streets that were also vaguely familiar. Then I finally twigged: we were approaching and about to ride through what had been the