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A Significant Other: Riding the Centenary Tour de France with Lance Armstrong Hardcover – August 1, 2004

4.2 out of 5 stars 6 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

'Half the book is made up of Pena's account, filtered through Rendell, of the key stages in Armstrong's tour victory last year. Much of the rest is devoted to Rendell's reflections on the Tour's history and culture, from the sadism of its founder Henri Desgrange to the present, with a Tour that has become less Gallic and more global.' INDEPENDENT (5.7.04) 'Rendell elegantly elucidates the tactical technicalities of cycling's unique mixture of cooperation and competition, teamwork and individualism...The beauty of Rendell's brief book is that he has secured the cooperation of a real-life domestique, the Colombian Victor Hugo Pena, who was a key member of Lance Armstrong's US Postal squad on his way to a record-equalling fifth Tour won last year.' -- Matt Seaton GUARDIAN (10.7.04) 'Rendell packs[s] in a great deal of very useful information, while that unforgettable day is recaptured vividly.' -- Geoffrey Wheatcroft DAILY MAIL (16.7.04) 'there is a scholarly quality to A SIGNIFICANT OTHER, a short but powerful book that uses the diary of a domestique in the 2003 Tour de France as the counterpoint to the author's exploration of the true nature of top-class competitive cycling...you won't find a better analysis of the extraordinary collective feat that is a team of cyclists working together at speed.' -- Simon O'Hagan INDEPENDENT ON SUNDAY (18.7.04) 'Rendell's explanations of the technicalities of cycling formations combine admirably with the chapters in Pena's voice, when we see these moves put into practice. The result is a rare sports book that actually gives an idea of the experience of being a professional athlete.' -- David Horspool TLS (30.7.04)

About the Author

Matt Rendell has written for television documentaries, contributed to television sports coverage for the BBC, ITV and Channel 4, including the British coverage of the Tour de France. He currently writes for Procycling magazine.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Weidenfeld & Nicolson (August 1, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0297847163
  • ISBN-13: 978-0297847168
  • Product Dimensions: 8.1 x 5.6 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,460,157 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
This is a curious book, cutting between Pena'a narrative of an individual stage, which is great if you're a racing cyclist (I am) or an enthusiastic fan, and Matt Randall's history and philosophy of bike racing. Matt could be accused of overly philosophising, especially when he's trying to use professional cycling as a metaphor for the sins of globalisation, which is a bit of a stretch. I enjoyed the read, the book misses out on a top rating because of Matt's final chapter. It's a bike race, fortunatly Pena provides the narrative to carry the politics!
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Format: Hardcover
This book is on a different level, artistically and intellectually, from most cycling journalism. I've read a bevy of Tour de France books and this is the best by far. It takes a different angle on professional cycling, the perspective of the domestique, to show you things about the sport that you would never learn reading yet another book about Lance or the other stars. The story of Victor Hugo Pena (now exiled from Lance, but riding with another team, Phonak) is far more representative of life in the peloton than that of the stars, and so tells you so much more about the cruel, beautiful sport of cycling.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The part of this book about Victor Hugo Pena and the Tour for this year is exceptional. It provides tremendous insight as to the amazing physical ability of Pena, who was participating as a domestique, although he was a champion cyclist himself.
Victor's description of the pain during the time trial is classic. I may put that paragraph on my training room wall.
However when the author goes into detail on the TDF route over the years, it becomes tedious and for me, meaningless. Who cares how many times the TDF went through village X?
Then we get an interpretation of the tour and the history of France (if not all mankind) which lost me early on. Maybe these chapters should have been in another book.
In summary, I'm glad I read the book. The good outweighed the "not so interesting" part.
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