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Bad Blood: The Secret Life of the Tour de France

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For Jeremy Whittle, there isn't much in life as spectacular as the Tour de France: sweat-streaked, taut and burnished athletes toiling across vast and ancient European landscapes, hundreds of thousands of fans lining the route. The twisting Mediterranean roads, the jerseys, the peloton in full flight - these have become as familiar to him as the lines around his eyes. And For Jeremy Whittle, there isn't much in life as spectacular as the Tour de France: sweat-streaked, taut and burnished athletes toiling across vast and ancient European landscapes, hundreds of thousands of fans lining the route. The twisting Mediterranean roads, the jerseys, the peloton in full flight - these have become as familiar to him as the lines around his eyes. And then there are the riders: men of almost superhuman capabilities, men who have become his friends, men whose stories he has written day in day out for the past decade. But even the biggest fan can one day wake up to find that he has lost his faith. We all want to believe in our heroes. That's why Jeremy got into cycling. But what happens when you can't? When you've seen too many positive dope tests, when you've been lied to too many times, when your sport is destroying itself from within? Bad Blood is the story of Jeremy Whittle's journey from unquestioning fan to Tour de France insider and confirmed sceptic. It's about broken friendships and a sport divided; about having to choose sides in the war against doping; about how galloping greed and corporate opportunism have led the Tour de France to the brink of destruction. Part personal memoir, part devastating exposé of a sport torn apart by drugs and scandal, Bad Blood is a love letter to one man's past, and a warning to cycling's future.


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For Jeremy Whittle, there isn't much in life as spectacular as the Tour de France: sweat-streaked, taut and burnished athletes toiling across vast and ancient European landscapes, hundreds of thousands of fans lining the route. The twisting Mediterranean roads, the jerseys, the peloton in full flight - these have become as familiar to him as the lines around his eyes. And For Jeremy Whittle, there isn't much in life as spectacular as the Tour de France: sweat-streaked, taut and burnished athletes toiling across vast and ancient European landscapes, hundreds of thousands of fans lining the route. The twisting Mediterranean roads, the jerseys, the peloton in full flight - these have become as familiar to him as the lines around his eyes. And then there are the riders: men of almost superhuman capabilities, men who have become his friends, men whose stories he has written day in day out for the past decade. But even the biggest fan can one day wake up to find that he has lost his faith. We all want to believe in our heroes. That's why Jeremy got into cycling. But what happens when you can't? When you've seen too many positive dope tests, when you've been lied to too many times, when your sport is destroying itself from within? Bad Blood is the story of Jeremy Whittle's journey from unquestioning fan to Tour de France insider and confirmed sceptic. It's about broken friendships and a sport divided; about having to choose sides in the war against doping; about how galloping greed and corporate opportunism have led the Tour de France to the brink of destruction. Part personal memoir, part devastating exposé of a sport torn apart by drugs and scandal, Bad Blood is a love letter to one man's past, and a warning to cycling's future.

30 review for Bad Blood: The Secret Life of the Tour de France

  1. 5 out of 5

    Andrew

    An Interesting read which follows the descent into doping..E.P.O. in particular at the later part of last century and the beginning of this..as to whether Cycling still has a problem?..well we can hope not but the whispers still abound. Lance Armstrong at the time of my edition of the book was still vehemently denying any involvement with doping pointing out his record of 'clean' tests..however given the ambiguous nature of E.P.O testing people where evidently asking questions then and though(pos An Interesting read which follows the descent into doping..E.P.O. in particular at the later part of last century and the beginning of this..as to whether Cycling still has a problem?..well we can hope not but the whispers still abound. Lance Armstrong at the time of my edition of the book was still vehemently denying any involvement with doping pointing out his record of 'clean' tests..however given the ambiguous nature of E.P.O testing people where evidently asking questions then and though(possibly for legal reasons) this book was unable to directly point out lance as a cheat by implication it's pretty clear he was. It's a interesting book set in a dark era of cycling which for all its darkness was an era I remain fond of..though many of the heroics I recall where unfortunately tainted the personality and spectacle of the race still shone through. In fairness though anti doping the book does allow through interviews other side to come through and on reflection sponsorship,packed racing calendars and harder and harder major stage races probably played as much of a part as a drive to succeed. In some ways the war on E.P.O possibly tainted cycling which is a shame...it's only now that similar rumblings are occurring around athletics and some of the 'Doctors' in this book have worked writhing Football,Tennis and other sports. Though it's a shame I do hope and suspect drug cheating in Cycling is much harder now due to the damage to team sponsors who will use or drop teams...the price Armstrong is paying is now a heavy one..though one it's difficult to have any sympathy with him for.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Jeremy

    A very interesting account of doping in cycling and how it is all pervasive. Very sad and dispiriting

  3. 4 out of 5

    Dan Cohen

    This is a good read and a decent account of the time when professional cycle road racing became corrupted by blood doping practices. The author manages to tell that story with reference to his own journey from starstruck fan to professional journalist to embittered ex-fan - the result of what he saw and heard while following the pro peleton.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Stuart

    One of the books that have surfaced in the last few years about juice in the biking, this was shortlisted for the Will Hill sports book of the year in 2008. Was good, but the structure took a little getting used to, and its obviously hugely out of date with the Lance thing having happened (although he does imply a lot about Lance without actually saying so tbf to him). 6.5/10

  5. 5 out of 5

    Garrett Burnett

    Whittle documents his journey from wide-eyed cycling fan and new journalist to jaded cynic. Whittle covers a whole cast of characters, but dwells the longest on Lance Armstrong and David Millar. Bad Blood is a great book on the EPO era of professional cycling--if you care about that in the least, this is your book (though there's no guarantee you'll see eye-to-eye with Whittle). Whittle documents his journey from wide-eyed cycling fan and new journalist to jaded cynic. Whittle covers a whole cast of characters, but dwells the longest on Lance Armstrong and David Millar. Bad Blood is a great book on the EPO era of professional cycling--if you care about that in the least, this is your book (though there's no guarantee you'll see eye-to-eye with Whittle).

  6. 4 out of 5

    Grim-Anal King

    I've read a lot of these pro cycling exposes and this rings truer than most because of the author's fairly nuanced, slowly shifting perspective. The writing flows well, making for a very rapid read by my ponderous standards. I've read a lot of these pro cycling exposes and this rings truer than most because of the author's fairly nuanced, slowly shifting perspective. The writing flows well, making for a very rapid read by my ponderous standards.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Carolyn Lochhead

    This was a bit of an eye-opener. I've no idea how credible it is, but it suggests that many Tour de France cyclists are using drugs to enhance their performance, and that Lance Armstrong is not as nice a guy as his publicity makes out. Interesting, if a bit depressing. This was a bit of an eye-opener. I've no idea how credible it is, but it suggests that many Tour de France cyclists are using drugs to enhance their performance, and that Lance Armstrong is not as nice a guy as his publicity makes out. Interesting, if a bit depressing.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Christian Leary

    easy, entertaining read. captured the ingrained attitudes and self-sustaining culture of the grand tours. shameful behaviours of those in and around cycling laid bare. would live to have seen a post-lance revelation additional chapter.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Pete Linfield

    This book made me suspicious of the whole 'Tour de France' History. We don't know who took drugs. So there will be a lot of cheats. Sad Really because this is the most spectacular endurance sport on the planet. As far as the book goes? I didn't find it particularly well written. This book made me suspicious of the whole 'Tour de France' History. We don't know who took drugs. So there will be a lot of cheats. Sad Really because this is the most spectacular endurance sport on the planet. As far as the book goes? I didn't find it particularly well written.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Jonathan Dennis

    No-one who read this was surprised to learn the truth about Big Lance

  11. 5 out of 5

    Cathy

    An easy read about the corruption in competetive cycling, before Lance confessed all.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Crharnish

    An interesting assessment, but as always, somewhat opinion based. Good food for thought.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Anthony Stell

    Not bad - bit raggedy in the story-telling and the Tyler Hamilton book cuts to the heart of the matter much better (and with more up-to-date news). But still a decent page-turner.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Mike Brinkworth

  15. 4 out of 5

    Gene

  16. 4 out of 5

    Andrew Tunstall

  17. 4 out of 5

    Cameron Grose

  18. 4 out of 5

    Scott Jensen

  19. 5 out of 5

    Sadhbh

  20. 5 out of 5

    Andrew

  21. 5 out of 5

    Mark

  22. 5 out of 5

    Anmbur

  23. 4 out of 5

    Reader's Lust

  24. 5 out of 5

    D.E. Fraley

  25. 5 out of 5

    Lisa

  26. 4 out of 5

    Heather

  27. 4 out of 5

    Nichiless Dey

  28. 5 out of 5

    Mark

  29. 5 out of 5

    Darren Steven

  30. 5 out of 5

    Tim Jacob

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