- Hardcover: 354 pages
- Publisher: Velo Press (April 9, 2002)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1931382069
- ISBN-13: 978-1931382069
- Product Dimensions: 6.3 x 1.2 x 9.4 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.7 pounds
- Average Customer Review: 2 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,442,674 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Off to the Races: 25 Years of Cycling Journalism Hardcover – April 9, 2002
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Mr. Abt's keen eye and feel for words rarely produce spectacular results but they almost always capture the heart of the subject they are examining. What I didn't expect was the way reading all of these essays as a collection would work together to create a larger picture, the way that some talented designers can take a collection of paintings or magazine covers and organize them in such a way that they create a unique portrait when viewed from an appropriate distance.
The portrait this collection produces spans a 25-year period that starts with the tail end of the career of Eddy Merckx, cycling's Babe Ruth (if I can be permitted a baseball analogy...), and ending well into the era of its latest star, Lance Armstrong, the sport's Hank Aaron (...or maybe two of them). In between, all of the giants of the sport -- Greg LeMond, Miguel Indurain, Francesco Moser, Sean Kelly, Claudio Ciapucci, Laurent Fignon, Bernard Hinault, Chris Boardman, Jan Ullrich, Mario Cipollini, and the recently deceased Marco Pantani -- are presented as Mr. Abt saw them at the time, and not with the sometimes distorting benefit of hindsight. Add to that a host of profiles of other would-be champions, flash-in-the-pan talents, and colorful racers and you have a collection of articles that belongs on any cycling fan's bookshelf.
The photography, unfortunately, is not what it could be considering the talent of photojournalist Graham Watson and the photogenic nature of the sport. Unless Mr. Watson inexplicably withheld the crème of his personal collection, I can only blame this on some nameless editor who ran great photos too small, and who skipped what must have been some extraordinary shots from Mr. Watson's portfolio in lieu of some rather ordinary alternatives. But the writing is the real reason to buy Off to the Races, so don't let the unexceptional choice of photos cause you to miss this highly enjoyable volume.