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How I Won the Yellow Jumper: Dispatches from the Tour de France

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Follow Ned Boulting’s (occasionally excruciating) experiences covering the world’s most famous two-wheeled race. His story offers an insider’s view of life behind the scenes of the Tour, as well as detailing the complexities and absurdities of reporting on the race and confronting the most celebrated riders—Cavendish, Wiggins, Armstrong et al—seconds after they cross the l Follow Ned Boulting’s (occasionally excruciating) experiences covering the world’s most famous two-wheeled race. His story offers an insider’s view of life behind the scenes of the Tour, as well as detailing the complexities and absurdities of reporting on the race and confronting the most celebrated riders—Cavendish, Wiggins, Armstrong et al—seconds after they cross the line. Eight Tours on from Ned’s humbling debut, he has grown to respect, mock, adore, and crave the race in equal measure. What’s more, he has even started to understand it. Funny and frank, How I Won the Yellow Jumper is the account of Ned’s journey—that same journey undertaken by many tens of thousands of cycling enthusiasts—from tour trainee to incurable fanatic.


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Follow Ned Boulting’s (occasionally excruciating) experiences covering the world’s most famous two-wheeled race. His story offers an insider’s view of life behind the scenes of the Tour, as well as detailing the complexities and absurdities of reporting on the race and confronting the most celebrated riders—Cavendish, Wiggins, Armstrong et al—seconds after they cross the l Follow Ned Boulting’s (occasionally excruciating) experiences covering the world’s most famous two-wheeled race. His story offers an insider’s view of life behind the scenes of the Tour, as well as detailing the complexities and absurdities of reporting on the race and confronting the most celebrated riders—Cavendish, Wiggins, Armstrong et al—seconds after they cross the line. Eight Tours on from Ned’s humbling debut, he has grown to respect, mock, adore, and crave the race in equal measure. What’s more, he has even started to understand it. Funny and frank, How I Won the Yellow Jumper is the account of Ned’s journey—that same journey undertaken by many tens of thousands of cycling enthusiasts—from tour trainee to incurable fanatic.

30 review for How I Won the Yellow Jumper: Dispatches from the Tour de France

  1. 4 out of 5

    James

    The tale of young Ned Boulting. Fresh-faced and innocent as he joins the ITV Tour de France coverage team in 2003. Transferred in from other, lesser, sports Ned is completely green in the ways of cycling – as the description of Gary Imlach quizzing him demonstrates. "They have teams? I didn't know that." But, being on that journey with Ned is part of the joy of this book. He knows he knows nothing, but he's going to have a crack at it anyway. And on the way he'll learn (hopefully in time so he d The tale of young Ned Boulting. Fresh-faced and innocent as he joins the ITV Tour de France coverage team in 2003. Transferred in from other, lesser, sports Ned is completely green in the ways of cycling – as the description of Gary Imlach quizzing him demonstrates. "They have teams? I didn't know that." But, being on that journey with Ned is part of the joy of this book. He knows he knows nothing, but he's going to have a crack at it anyway. And on the way he'll learn (hopefully in time so he doesn't completely mess it up). While I didn't learn much about cycling as a sport, I learnt a lot about the behind the scenes action. Just how off the cuff some of those interviews are. Just how randomly some of the ideas are generated (Ned's suggestion to film a night camping out with the fans for example). And much, as both a journalist and a fan, he can be there every day and yet still seem part of a totally parallel organisation from the race itself. I don't think I ever imagined that the racers and the journalists were best friends, but the almost adversarial distinction between the two groups was a surprise. I'd always kinda assumed that the British journalists, at least, were more matey with the British riders than this tale suggests. The book's chapters are a little all over the place. I don't think a single one stays in the same year for the whole chapter. But this allows Ned to bring us even more into his journey from complete beginner in 2003 through to a seasoned professional in 2010. However, as the book was written in 2011, nearly two years before I read it, time (and some of the cast) have moved on. Interestingly, especially given very recent events, are the three chapters devoted to one Lance Armstrong (former Tour de France champion and now disgraced drugs cheat). At first, you have the expected Lance-appreciation chapter. Armstrong was coming to the end of his first career our young hero starts his story, and it's clear that as pretty much the only cyclist he'd heard of before he's pretty much in awe of the Texan. He goes so far as to describe his retirement as leaving the Tour "diminished by his absence". But this was a journalist still, presumably, unversed in the darker underbelly of cycling. Yet somehow, he manages to reconcile this with his clear description of Lance's, and the peloton's, disgraceful treatment of Filippo Simeoni. His chapter on Richard Virenque leaves us in little doubt as to the distaste that his fall from grace left in the sport. But the two later Armstrong chapters start to reveal the slow realisation that Ned went through. Written between 2010 and 2011, he obviously doesn't have all the latest revelations to call upon, but it's clear that Ned has transitioned from a Lance fanboy to a much more cynical position. While this is sad in a way, it's much more honest with the reader than the entrenched positions that Messrs Liggett and Sherwen have taken. As with the doping, a writer always risks getting caught out by things moving on after the book is written. In that case, the march of time hasn't made Ned look foolish. However, it was amusing to read him talk, with sadness, about Wiggins's Tour in 2010 as he totally failed to live up to Sky's expectation. Perhaps, he muses, Sky's plan will need to be about somebody other that Wiggins. Some younger, fresh, talent. Waiting to come through. Ahh, if only he could have had a rewrite in 2012! Bookended with an only tenuously related tale of Ned waking up in Lewisham hospital after a cycling accident of his own after his first Tour de France. While not necessarily what readers are looking for in this memoir, it's inclusion is worthwhile for the punchline that it ends the book on alone. Overall it's a delightful story of somebody coming to both discover and love the sport of cycling, from the inside. It's hard not be charmed by the tale. My 2012 edition came with an extra bonus of How Cav Won the Green Jersey tacked on the end. A much shorter tale of his attendance at the 2011 Tour de France, where after Cav pointed out how worthless the Green Jersey was because nobody ever remembers who won it, he went on to win it. Self-referentially, it includes an anecdote where Ned gives Cav a copy of this book How I Won the Yellow Jumper , and Cav asks him to sign it, as well as a terrible photograph of Cav holding the book and looking very shocked.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Adrian

    A very enjoyable read. Light and easy to put down and then pick up again. I enjoyed his writing style and some of the anecdotes made me laugh out loud. It would be interesting to read an updated version after the Armstrong fiasco

  3. 5 out of 5

    Ben

    I absolutely loved this book! Grew up watching the Tour de France with my Dad, and have seen virtually every stage televised in the 80s, 90s, 00s and 10's to date. Throughout this time the commentary team of Phil Ligget, Paul Sherwen, Gary Imlach and more recently Chris Boardman and Ned Boulting have been my travelling companions as I've learnt how this gruelling sport works. I've watched heady days of dramatic climbs, ongoing duels between champions and of course the gloom of drugs cheats envelo I absolutely loved this book! Grew up watching the Tour de France with my Dad, and have seen virtually every stage televised in the 80s, 90s, 00s and 10's to date. Throughout this time the commentary team of Phil Ligget, Paul Sherwen, Gary Imlach and more recently Chris Boardman and Ned Boulting have been my travelling companions as I've learnt how this gruelling sport works. I've watched heady days of dramatic climbs, ongoing duels between champions and of course the gloom of drugs cheats envelop the Tour. Most excitingly, I've watched as British Cycling has emerged from the occasional glimmer of hope to being Green and Yellow Jersey winners! Heady days indeed. Boulting's book is a wonderful behind the scenes read. His style is conversational, witty and easy going. He covers the big topics and the small idiosyncrases of life following the Tour with humour and personal insight. This isn't a book about the racing - if you want to learn about how the race works, the tactics and regulations, this isn't the book for you - but let's face it, the Tour is so much more than just the race but is a movement, a lifstyle, an annual pilgrimage even. This is a book of the life around the Tour and the challenges of presenting it. I would certainly recommend this book to all sports fans and anyone interested in the world of road racing. Look out for the edition that includes the update 'How Cav Won the Green Jersey'. I wonder if there will be an update to include the unprecedented British Tour win by Bradley Wiggins?

  4. 5 out of 5

    Jim McDonnell

    A really quick, easy and enjoyable read, I could have easily read a version three times longer. Always amusing, interesting and enlightening - with this year's Tour a couple of weeks away I feel like I've been given a little bit of insider knowledge about how Le Tour works and how the pictures and sounds get to our tv screens. Ned Boulting's writing style is informal, natural and very readable. He has plenty of Tour anecdotes from his years as a reporter there; and although he doesn't offer any c A really quick, easy and enjoyable read, I could have easily read a version three times longer. Always amusing, interesting and enlightening - with this year's Tour a couple of weeks away I feel like I've been given a little bit of insider knowledge about how Le Tour works and how the pictures and sounds get to our tv screens. Ned Boulting's writing style is informal, natural and very readable. He has plenty of Tour anecdotes from his years as a reporter there; and although he doesn't offer any conclusive opinions about the more controversial aspects of the race, there's plenty there to inform the reader just a bit more about them. But the book isn't about controversy, it's about entertaining and amusing stories, the delivery of which hit my funnybone spot-on time after time. I definitely intend to spend this year's race pronouncing each and every rider's name in an exaggerated and unlikely comedy Geordie accent. If you like Le Tour, you'll like this book.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Paul

    I have watched the Tour on Channel 4 and now ITV 4 for many many years now, and read as much about the sport and the riders as I can. It was nice to read up on the view from the journalist. Boulting was a football journalist before landing in France 2 days before the start of the 2004 tour with almost no preparation. He was briefed by members of the team and dropped from a great height into the deep end. The first interview he had with a rider he asked about the yellow jumper (normally jersey) an I have watched the Tour on Channel 4 and now ITV 4 for many many years now, and read as much about the sport and the riders as I can. It was nice to read up on the view from the journalist. Boulting was a football journalist before landing in France 2 days before the start of the 2004 tour with almost no preparation. He was briefed by members of the team and dropped from a great height into the deep end. The first interview he had with a rider he asked about the yellow jumper (normally jersey) and his reputation was made. The book loosely follows each Tour, and is interspersed with lots of chapters on individuals in the production team, and riders. There are some really funny bits, and a poignant tribute to a great camera man. This was written prior to Wiggins triumph in 2012, and he writes of the promise that he shows in the Tour, and the Fall of Armstrong, that with hindsight the signs were probably there. Great read, must for all cycling and Tour fans

  6. 4 out of 5

    Jacqueline

    This is Ned's first book about life behind the scenes as a commentator on the Tour de France and tells how a total cycling novice gets thrown in at the deep end, learns the lingo and eventually becomes a huge fan, despite the wobbly start. Ned tells it like it is; long days, living out of a suitcase, crumpled shirts, deadlines, bruised egos, coffee, uncomfortable hotel beds, adrenalin, lycra, elation and disappointment, but his three-week Tour life on the road is recounted with humour and inters This is Ned's first book about life behind the scenes as a commentator on the Tour de France and tells how a total cycling novice gets thrown in at the deep end, learns the lingo and eventually becomes a huge fan, despite the wobbly start. Ned tells it like it is; long days, living out of a suitcase, crumpled shirts, deadlines, bruised egos, coffee, uncomfortable hotel beds, adrenalin, lycra, elation and disappointment, but his three-week Tour life on the road is recounted with humour and interspersed with some great facts and trivia for wannabe tour nerds like me.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Soho_Black

    I’m not entirely sure why I still watch the Tour de France. After all, it has been proven that many of the higher ranked competitors over the years were cheating and even last year’s champion, Chris Froome, is under suspicion due to some adverse test results that are as yet unexplained. It’s certainly not due to wish-fulfilment, as I’ve not ridden or owned a bike for years, lacking the balance and confidence to ride one and with aging knees making the pedalling motion uncomfortable. But for some I’m not entirely sure why I still watch the Tour de France. After all, it has been proven that many of the higher ranked competitors over the years were cheating and even last year’s champion, Chris Froome, is under suspicion due to some adverse test results that are as yet unexplained. It’s certainly not due to wish-fulfilment, as I’ve not ridden or owned a bike for years, lacking the balance and confidence to ride one and with aging knees making the pedalling motion uncomfortable. But for some reason, I’ve long followed the Tour de France on television and read many books relating to cycling and Le Tour over the years. Ned Boulting also seems to have no idea why he is at his first Tour de France in 2003, having been plucked from other sports reporting to cover Le Tour. His first report has him referring to the yellow jersey, worn by the race leader, as the yellow jumper, hence the title of the book. Fortunately, this rookie error wasn’t to harm his career and in following years, he developed a passion for and understanding of this great event as he continued to report on and from it. Through the stories in this book, Boulting shares his growing experience and confidence over several years. The first thing that struck me about the book is the way it is presented. It is not chronological, but split into sections dealing with different aspects of life following Le tour around France for 3 weeks every July. He covers everything from the terror of reporting live when you haven’t a clue what’s going on, to the difficulties in speaking to some of the riders and the difficulties in actually speaking to them when you’ve achieved the near impossible of persuading them to speak in the first place. There is a lot of action from behind the scenes, from the joys of food on the go to the more questionable enjoyment of French launderettes on rest days, portable toilets and camping half way up a mountain to experience Le Tour from another angle. Boulting writes with great humour, seemingly finding something to laugh about in every situation, more often than not at his own expense. Whilst this is his story and he is a central character, he writes in a way that ensures the book is by him, but not all about him. Indeed, apart from a few brief mentions about a cycling accident he had shortly after his first Tour, which I suspect are largely included so he can laugh at himself some more, he’s far more often a narrator than a character in his own book. This leaves the way open for the men who do all the hard work on the bikes to take centre stage and those who support the efforts of the riders and people like Boulting and others who report on the tour to come out of the background and into the sight of those of us who would see nothing more than the people directly in front of the cameras. This means that for any fan of Le Tour de France, this is a hugely insightful read, presenting Le Tour from a heretofore unknown and unseen angle. Thanks to Boulting’s experience at relating Le Tour to a television audience who may know as little as he did back in those early years, his style is open and informative, but presented simply and without burying the reader in jargon, which with this being Le Tour, would mostly be in French words we don’t understand anyway. Boulting writes like a man who could be sitting next to you in the pub upon his return, telling you what he’s been doing on his holidays, except not missing out the bits that you wouldn’t have taken a photo of and relishing the stories where someone got drunk and fell over, occasionally himself. If there is a downside to the book, it’s that the age of it means so much has changed since publication. Although it covered a period during which drugs were being cracked down upon and Floyd Landis was disqualified for failing a drugs test, it was written during a period where everyone still thought Lance Armstrong was a hero and record breaker rather than a cheat, so whilst the report from L’Equipe that he had been caught cheating was covered briefly, the full truth did not come out until much later. It also misses much of the success of British Cycling, with only Bradley Wiggins’ 4th place in 2009 and crash in 2011 getting much of a mention and Froome not present at all, with Team Sky in genesis and not in race winning form and Cavendish winning the green jersey, but far from being the record breaker he would later become. However, there are later books which will most likely cover these areas and it’s not the fault of the author that publication dates have left these holes, as the rest of the book suggests he would have covered them in an even-handed, gently self-deprecating and amusing way if they had. However, the age of the book and how much the landscape of Le Tour has moved on since publication does mean it’s not up to date enough to be worth reading now. However, as well written as it is, had it covered a period right up to date, I wouldn’t have hesitated to recommend it, so good is the book, the writing and the insights it provides.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Heather Belleguelle

    I thoroughly enjoy listening to Ned (and David Millar) commentating on bike racing so was happy to pick up a copy of this book in a second-hand bookshop. The book is a little dated as it was published in 2011. However, it gives an interesting and entertaining insight into some of what goes on to bring us the televised version of the Tour, as well as pulling back the curtains on some of the faces and voices we’re used to having on our screens and in commentary. There are moments of drama and humo I thoroughly enjoy listening to Ned (and David Millar) commentating on bike racing so was happy to pick up a copy of this book in a second-hand bookshop. The book is a little dated as it was published in 2011. However, it gives an interesting and entertaining insight into some of what goes on to bring us the televised version of the Tour, as well as pulling back the curtains on some of the faces and voices we’re used to having on our screens and in commentary. There are moments of drama and humour aplenty, all told in Ned’s inimitable style. One of the things I found most interesting was Ned’s slight obsession with Lance Armstrong, and it was enlightening to hear his thoughts about the now-disgraced cyclist. It was also rather entertaining reading his descriptions of David Millar with whom he now commentates, not just on the Tour but the Vuelta and other races as well, and with whom he also appears to be good friends. And then there are his thoughts on the brand-new Team Sky and the up-and-coming young sprinter, Mark Cavendish. Perhaps it was actually even more interesting reading the book at this distance than it would have been when it was new. Maybe one day Ned will write a follow-up book giving us further insights and anecdotes from the greatest show in bike racing.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Ness

    As someone who used to work in press offices for sporting events I loved Ned's tales of following around the media circus. The worst part is always trying to get interviews with the competitors. The last thing they want to do is talk to the press but never understand they wouldn't have a job without the media coverage. As someone who used to work in press offices for sporting events I loved Ned's tales of following around the media circus. The worst part is always trying to get interviews with the competitors. The last thing they want to do is talk to the press but never understand they wouldn't have a job without the media coverage.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Sam

    I loved this book. It was such a great depiction of both falling in love with a sport and the sheer character of everything Tour de France. Ned Boulting is an insightful and very amusing writer whose turn of phrase is often poetic enough to engage on a general literary level. I can’t wait to read his other books.

  11. 4 out of 5

    David

    Enjoyable behind the scenes look into the Tour de France from a journalistic perspective. The stories told had me smiling at times and the book has left me with a greater appreciation for what goes into the ITV broadcasts that I watch on the TV. Recommend for any cycling fan.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Daz

    An enjoyable insight into the life of a Tour De France reporter. Delivered with typical Boulting dry wit and sarcasm. Well worth the read if you are a TDF follower.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Ally Fraser

    Initially disappointed it wasn't a riders perspective it turner out to be a really entertaining read with as many twists and turns as the route the riders take. Initially disappointed it wasn't a riders perspective it turner out to be a really entertaining read with as many twists and turns as the route the riders take.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Mat Greener

    All chapters have Ned's humourous style but some chapters are more interesting than others. Well worth a read for fans of the tour de France even if was written in 2010 All chapters have Ned's humourous style but some chapters are more interesting than others. Well worth a read for fans of the tour de France even if was written in 2010

  15. 4 out of 5

    Rebecca

    If you love cycling and the Tour de France this book will transport and amuse you!

  16. 5 out of 5

    Sarah De Beer

    Funny and interesting read. Thought I'd be bored but behind the scenes of the Tour de France is actually very interesting. Would be interesting to see an updated version as this is now quite old. Funny and interesting read. Thought I'd be bored but behind the scenes of the Tour de France is actually very interesting. Would be interesting to see an updated version as this is now quite old.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Chris

    I have recently become a fan of professional cycling. Despite the allegations of doping and corruption cycling is still a fantastic sport enjoyed by millions across the globe. Arguably the biggest event in the pro cycling calender is the Tour de France. Ned Boulting has written this book chronicling his experiences covering the tour for ITV over several years. In it he writes about the difficulty of following the tour for weeks on end, staying in bad hotels, struggling to find clean clothes to w I have recently become a fan of professional cycling. Despite the allegations of doping and corruption cycling is still a fantastic sport enjoyed by millions across the globe. Arguably the biggest event in the pro cycling calender is the Tour de France. Ned Boulting has written this book chronicling his experiences covering the tour for ITV over several years. In it he writes about the difficulty of following the tour for weeks on end, staying in bad hotels, struggling to find clean clothes to wear not to mention dealing with professional cyclists who may not be fans of journalists! Overall the book was a big disapointment for me. To begin with I was lead to believe the book is funny. In nearly 400 pages I think I chuckled lightly once. The subject matter should be very dramatic and exciting to read about but Boulting largely manages to make it drab and boring. He writes pages about the mundane and unimportant and skips briefly over anything interesting. He writes about several controversial figures in pro cycling (including the most controversial of all: Lance Armstrong) but never dishes any dirt or even says what he really thinks about them. He dances around issues he writes about, stubbornly ignoring the elephant in the room and is relentlessly diplomatic and polite. As I mentioned before: Boring. I complained about the book to my wife who attempted to defend Boultings diplomacy by saying the book was scrutinised by lawyers before it was published but the way I see it is that if Boulting couldn't write the book he wanted and had more he wanted to say he shouldn't have written it at all and if it IS the book he wanted I just didn't like it.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Gumble's Yard

    Easy reading, lightly humorous tales of reporting on and following the Tour by ITVs finish line and feature reporter. No real insights but equally not the usual cliches and hackneyed stories.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Jowhi

    Always one to want to know more about what goes on "behind the scenes", this was the perfect book for me to find out a bit more about the media melée that surrounds the Tour de France, and what life on tour is like if you're not actually a professional cyclist. From the offset Ned Boulting is open and honest about his knowledge (or original lack thereof) of cycling, and it is for this reason that this book would be entertaining and interesting to both cyclists, cycling fans and just those who ar Always one to want to know more about what goes on "behind the scenes", this was the perfect book for me to find out a bit more about the media melée that surrounds the Tour de France, and what life on tour is like if you're not actually a professional cyclist. From the offset Ned Boulting is open and honest about his knowledge (or original lack thereof) of cycling, and it is for this reason that this book would be entertaining and interesting to both cyclists, cycling fans and just those who are just fans of sport in general (as the Tour de France has to be rated up there as one of the world's premier sporting events). The book is a light-hearted, easy to read, entertaining glimpse into the world of sports media, and in particular how it meshes with the highlight of the sport of cycling's calendar. With more than a couple of laugh out loud moments, whilst also addressing cycling's darker side, I would definitely recommend this to anyone with even a vague interest in cycling or sports journalism.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Simon Jones

    What's to like about this book? Most importantly, Ned Boulting is a very good writer. His descriptions of his time as a journalist on the Tour de France are funny, colourful and crystal clear. His book is eminently readable. The weaknesses? One is simply the passage of time. Since the book was written, after the 2011 race, hugely significant events have overtaken some of the chapters: Lance Armstrong admitting to doping; Alberto Contador being stripped of the 2010 Tour; the seemingly unstoppable What's to like about this book? Most importantly, Ned Boulting is a very good writer. His descriptions of his time as a journalist on the Tour de France are funny, colourful and crystal clear. His book is eminently readable. The weaknesses? One is simply the passage of time. Since the book was written, after the 2011 race, hugely significant events have overtaken some of the chapters: Lance Armstrong admitting to doping; Alberto Contador being stripped of the 2010 Tour; the seemingly unstoppable rise of Team Sky. Another flaw is that the book gets slightly samey after a while. Here's a tale of Ned's travails on the Tour. And here's another. And another. The final disappointment is the lack of a final, concluding chapter: a summary of what makes the Tour de France so great. The book simply peters out. Overall, however, I'd recommend the book to both Tour and non-Tour fans alike. It's an enjoyable, illuminating read.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Sam Cook

    As I am somebody who would love to cover sport as a profession and also developing an understanding and interest in the cycling world, Ned Boulting's How I won the Yellow Jumper was of great interest to be, and perfectly satisfied both of these areas. The book follows real life events, from Ned's first Tour de France reporting task, where you see him grow from a reporter who was out of his depth, naively asking about a Yellow Jumper, to somebody who is now passionate about the sport, and takes a As I am somebody who would love to cover sport as a profession and also developing an understanding and interest in the cycling world, Ned Boulting's How I won the Yellow Jumper was of great interest to be, and perfectly satisfied both of these areas. The book follows real life events, from Ned's first Tour de France reporting task, where you see him grow from a reporter who was out of his depth, naively asking about a Yellow Jumper, to somebody who is now passionate about the sport, and takes any scandal against the much maligned sport of cycling personally. This well written personal account is a perfect quick read if you're looking for a funny, witty and occasionally emotional book.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Martin Sidgreaves

    I was given this book as a birthday present and was keen to finish the book I was reading so I could start this one. From the start I wasn't disappointed, from the start HIWTYJ was a captivating, entertaining, humorous and honest account of Ned's time on the Tour since 2003. He has tried to broach all areas of professional cycling from the great days of Armstrong to the dark days of the doping scandals and allows the reader a better insight to the workings of 'The Greatest Show On Earth' & the pr I was given this book as a birthday present and was keen to finish the book I was reading so I could start this one. From the start I wasn't disappointed, from the start HIWTYJ was a captivating, entertaining, humorous and honest account of Ned's time on the Tour since 2003. He has tried to broach all areas of professional cycling from the great days of Armstrong to the dark days of the doping scandals and allows the reader a better insight to the workings of 'The Greatest Show On Earth' & the professional Peloton. If you have any interest in cycling you'll love this book, if you're not a fan of the sport.... try it, you may change your mind!

  23. 4 out of 5

    Tom

    Enjoyed this - some lovely insights into adventures, people and places from several years covering the Tour de France for British TV. Pleasantly surprised at how well it's written - never patronising or dumbed down as I was fearing an ITV reporter's book would be - but warm, intelligent and entertaining, and often very funny. I guess it helps that I'm an occasional, casual fan so I'm familiar with Ned's TV work on football as well as cycling. I watch the Tour de France more for the French scener Enjoyed this - some lovely insights into adventures, people and places from several years covering the Tour de France for British TV. Pleasantly surprised at how well it's written - never patronising or dumbed down as I was fearing an ITV reporter's book would be - but warm, intelligent and entertaining, and often very funny. I guess it helps that I'm an occasional, casual fan so I'm familiar with Ned's TV work on football as well as cycling. I watch the Tour de France more for the French scenery going by, and this book didn't help me understand the race or team tactics much more, but did enlighten with some opinions about some of the characters involved.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Christine

    Really enjoyed this. Having just read David Millar's book Racing Through the Dark: The Fall and Rise of David Millar it was interesting to see a lot of the same events from the journalists point of view. It's a funny book. I started watching the tour not long after Ned started with the ITV coverage so I get how confusing it all is to start with, the teams, team tactics, the different races all happening within the same race... Really enjoyed this. Having just read David Millar's book Racing Through the Dark: The Fall and Rise of David Millar it was interesting to see a lot of the same events from the journalists point of view. It's a funny book. I started watching the tour not long after Ned started with the ITV coverage so I get how confusing it all is to start with, the teams, team tactics, the different races all happening within the same race...

  25. 4 out of 5

    Raz

    Made me laugh out loud quite a few times, which is a pretty good test of a comedy book. I've been watching the Tour since childhood with my Dad, but only got back into watching it daily recently. This book had just enough history to make it rooted in the Tour and keep it familiar. I also liked the parts about the daily grind, like toilets or food, which illuminated a journalist's experience. Loved the insights into the personalities of a few great riders, including members of Team Sky. Made me want Made me laugh out loud quite a few times, which is a pretty good test of a comedy book. I've been watching the Tour since childhood with my Dad, but only got back into watching it daily recently. This book had just enough history to make it rooted in the Tour and keep it familiar. I also liked the parts about the daily grind, like toilets or food, which illuminated a journalist's experience. Loved the insights into the personalities of a few great riders, including members of Team Sky. Made me want to go and follow it for myself - if the Tour itself hadn't already!

  26. 5 out of 5

    Drew Buddie

    Having had this book recommended to me by people who knew I live watching the Tour de France, I enjoyed it every bit as much as I expected to. It is written in a really accessible, self-deprecating chatty style which instead of grating is endearing, particularly because the author is so open about his own fallibilities. From time to time it drops some bombshells as exemplified by the chapters about Lance Armstrong prepared me suitably for the news over the past 24hrs that Amstrong is no longer g Having had this book recommended to me by people who knew I live watching the Tour de France, I enjoyed it every bit as much as I expected to. It is written in a really accessible, self-deprecating chatty style which instead of grating is endearing, particularly because the author is so open about his own fallibilities. From time to time it drops some bombshells as exemplified by the chapters about Lance Armstrong prepared me suitably for the news over the past 24hrs that Amstrong is no longer going to gpfight e drugs accusations against him.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Claire Webster

    Not the greatest work of literature ever, and betrays some signs of being put together rather hurriedly, but offers a fascinating and often hilarious insight into the life of the journalists whose job it is to follow and report the Tour de France. I particularly liked the candid photos and the sense you are left with that, despite the long drives, tedious launderette experiences and bizarre toilet arrangements, they all have a tremendous amount of fun.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Tara

    I "met" Ned Boulting this summer watching ITV's Tour de France coverage--with his presentations, humor, and interviews, I would have assumed that he was a former cyclist, like Chris Boardman. His memoir to the contrary was quite fun to read. It is really for the die-hard Tour de France fan, but the book is a fun ride through some of the personalities, the logistics, and everything that goes on behind the scenes. It's a quick and fun read. I "met" Ned Boulting this summer watching ITV's Tour de France coverage--with his presentations, humor, and interviews, I would have assumed that he was a former cyclist, like Chris Boardman. His memoir to the contrary was quite fun to read. It is really for the die-hard Tour de France fan, but the book is a fun ride through some of the personalities, the logistics, and everything that goes on behind the scenes. It's a quick and fun read.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Shelley Des Forges

    Genuinely laugh out loud funny. As an avid tour fan I learnt a lot from Ned's experiences and am sure anyone fan or otherwise would enjoy this read. I'd be interested to know how he feels about Armstrong now that all has been revealed. A downside is the poor rendition of the pictures scattered throughout the text. This may be a non-issue if reading electronic versions. A highly entertaining read I would recommend to anyone. Genuinely laugh out loud funny. As an avid tour fan I learnt a lot from Ned's experiences and am sure anyone fan or otherwise would enjoy this read. I'd be interested to know how he feels about Armstrong now that all has been revealed. A downside is the poor rendition of the pictures scattered throughout the text. This may be a non-issue if reading electronic versions. A highly entertaining read I would recommend to anyone.

  30. 4 out of 5

    russell barnes

    I really wished I read this during the actual Tour, as it felt a bit flat a few weeks later. Partly this is due to the scattergun structure of Boulting's Tour memoirs, skipping forward and backwards in time, and from subject to subject. It is an interesting and fairly amusing read, but I suspect I would've liked it more a month ago, as I would've read any old cycling bobbins then... I really wished I read this during the actual Tour, as it felt a bit flat a few weeks later. Partly this is due to the scattergun structure of Boulting's Tour memoirs, skipping forward and backwards in time, and from subject to subject. It is an interesting and fairly amusing read, but I suspect I would've liked it more a month ago, as I would've read any old cycling bobbins then...

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