Full disclosure: I wrote to the publishing company, Cycle Publishing / Van der Plas Publications, and asked if they would send me a copy to review as it had recently piqued my interest, having confused it with a sequel to Tim Krabbe's The Rider (a figment of my imagination). My review is really about both books as I thought I should read The Yellow Jersey first.
I have to be honest, I think there are two problems with the books.
Firstly, Terry Davenport is the most unlikeable lead character I have read and I totally fail to empathize with him. I am not sure when the book is set but it's no excuse. Every female 'conquest' is referred to as 'it' and it's no spoiler to say he has an affair with is fiance's daughter who's engaged to his protege. Terry's passion for racing is his, and the book's saving grace, that and his care for his student almost win me over, but he really is an ass. Despite my dislike for Terry's lack of morals, his passion does carry me through the book as I turn pages waiting for the next bit of cycling.
The second problem, though, is that it appears this book is trying to be a cycling book for non-cyclists too. In particular, Mr. Hurne has written paragraphs of dialogue which seem to exist purely to explain cycle racing to the uninitiated. It's obvious and it seems clumsy. Unfortunate really.
Maybe without these interruptions the book would flow more smoothly.
Once you accept the 'cycling-tutorials' the story develops and some of the plot twists, though heavy handed, are pretty tongue in cheek. Maybe these novels aren't meant to be taken quite so seriously. The written descriptions of the training and racing are well done and certainly drew me into the action and encouraged me to keep reading.
So, although not really classics, I am glad I read them both.
This feels like a disclaimer, but if you are interested in reading about cycling, read these two.
They are fun. They are worthwhile.
At Cycle Publishing / Van der Plas Publishing you will find a whole array of cycling titles and more, including Bicycle Repair, The Six Day Bicycle Races, Armstrong's 6th, The Birth of Dirt and the proceedings of the International Cycling History Conferences.
During March you will receive 15% off your order when you enter 'Velopaint' at checkout.
Thanks so much to Ray at Cycle Publishing for the book and for offering this discount to all.