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23 Days in July


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About the Author

A graduate of the University of London, John Wilcockson was the first-ever cycling correspondent of The Times, and has reported for that and the Sunday Times for many years. He has edited five different cycling magazines, and is currently the editorial director of the world's leading competitive cycling magazine, VeloNews. For his journalistic services to the Tour de France, Wilcockson was presented with the Medaille de la Reconnaissance and the Plaque de la Reconnaissance du Tour by the race's organisers. In 2004 he reported on the Tour for the 36th time. He has written a dozen books.


Armstrong's record sixth Tour de France victory didn't cause much of a stir in the U.S., but Wilcockson's account shows why the "Tour has always fascinated writers," even if it hasn't always captured the attention of Americans. The author, whose work has appeared in the New York Times, draws on conversations with Armstrong, his race team and his challengers before, during and after the race for an intimate glimpse of this particular world's friendships, rivalries and scandals. The resulting portrait of Armstrong, from his recovery from cancer to his exhausting training methods, unmatched physical strength and mental toughness, is that of a newly single dad, with no memories of his own father, and a sporting "legend." The book's structure, with its day-by-day account of the Tour, allows readers to appreciate what an arduous undertaking the race is. As the race revisits stages and locations from previous Tours, Wilcockson smartly looks back at some of the Tour's great moments and explores how it has changed because of its recent "Lance-ification." While Wilcockson mostly celebrates Armstrong and the Tour, he doesn't shy away from the doping scandals and accusations that have haunted both Armstrong and the race over the years, and he does give Armstrong a chance to answer his critics. A thorough appendix further explaining cycling's subtle intricacies ends this well-crafted book. Map, photos. Agent, Jim Levine. (Nov. 15) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.

A must-read for all cycling fans. - BBC SportFascinating ... Wilcockson manages to penetrate the psychological depths of the race's stars. - British Cycling From cancer to cycling superman: is this the greatest story in modern sport? - Guardian Although I have no interest in cycling, I found the story compelling. - The Mail on Sunday, Simon Shaw

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