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How I Won the Yellow Jumper: Dispatches from the Tour de France
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How I Won the Yellow Jumper: Dispatches from the Tour de France

3.9  ·  Rating details ·  695 Ratings  ·  59 Reviews
Follow Ned Boulting’s (occasionally excruciating) experiences covering the world’s most famous two-wheeled race. His story offers an insider’s view of life behind the scenes of the Tour, as well as detailing the complexities and absurdities of reporting on the race and confronting the most celebrated riders—Cavendish, Wiggins, Armstrong et al—seconds after they cross the l ...more
Paperback, 316 pages
Published August 1st 2011 by Random House UK (first published May 28th 2011)
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Jun 29, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: All fans of the Tour de France
Recommended to James by: Mark
The tale of young Ned Boulting. Fresh-faced and innocent as he joins the ITV Tour de France coverage team in 2003. Transferred in from other, lesser, sports Ned is completely green in the ways of cycling – as the description of Gary Imlach quizzing him demonstrates. "They have teams? I didn't know that." But, being on that journey with Ned is part of the joy of this book. He knows he knows nothing, but he's going to have a crack at it anyway. And on the way he'll learn (hopefully in time so he d ...more
Jim McDonnell
Jun 23, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A really quick, easy and enjoyable read, I could have easily read a version three times longer. Always amusing, interesting and enlightening - with this year's Tour a couple of weeks away I feel like I've been given a little bit of insider knowledge about how Le Tour works and how the pictures and sounds get to our tv screens.

Ned Boulting's writing style is informal, natural and very readable. He has plenty of Tour anecdotes from his years as a reporter there; and although he doesn't offer any c
Nov 05, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: france, cycling, paris, memoirs
This is Ned's first book about life behind the scenes as a commentator on the Tour de France and tells how a total cycling novice gets thrown in at the deep end, learns the lingo and eventually becomes a huge fan, despite the wobbly start. Ned tells it like it is; long days, living out of a suitcase, crumpled shirts, deadlines, bruised egos, coffee, uncomfortable hotel beds, adrenalin, lycra, elation and disappointment, but his three-week Tour life on the road is recounted with humour and inters ...more
Feb 24, 2014 rated it it was ok
I have recently become a fan of professional cycling. Despite the allegations of doping and corruption cycling is still a fantastic sport enjoyed by millions across the globe. Arguably the biggest event in the pro cycling calender is the Tour de France.

Ned Boulting has written this book chronicling his experiences covering the tour for ITV over several years. In it he writes about the difficulty of following the tour for weeks on end, staying in bad hotels, struggling to find clean clothes to w
Gumble's Yard
Feb 18, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2011
Easy reading, lightly humorous tales of reporting on and following the Tour by ITVs finish line and feature reporter. No real insights but equally not the usual cliches and hackneyed stories.
Apr 13, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction, sport
I absolutely loved this book!

Grew up watching the Tour de France with my Dad, and have seen virtually every stage televised in the 80s, 90s, 00s and 10's to date. Throughout this time the commentary team of Phil Ligget, Paul Sherwen, Gary Imlach and more recently Chris Boardman and Ned Boulting have been my travelling companions as I've learnt how this gruelling sport works. I've watched heady days of dramatic climbs, ongoing duels between champions and of course the gloom of drugs cheats envelo
Mar 05, 2012 rated it really liked it
Always one to want to know more about what goes on "behind the scenes", this was the perfect book for me to find out a bit more about the media melée that surrounds the Tour de France, and what life on tour is like if you're not actually a professional cyclist. From the offset Ned Boulting is open and honest about his knowledge (or original lack thereof) of cycling, and it is for this reason that this book would be entertaining and interesting to both cyclists, cycling fans and just those who ar ...more
Simon Jones
Aug 12, 2016 rated it really liked it
What's to like about this book? Most importantly, Ned Boulting is a very good writer. His descriptions of his time as a journalist on the Tour de France are funny, colourful and crystal clear. His book is eminently readable.

The weaknesses? One is simply the passage of time. Since the book was written, after the 2011 race, hugely significant events have overtaken some of the chapters: Lance Armstrong admitting to doping; Alberto Contador being stripped of the 2010 Tour; the seemingly unstoppable
Sep 26, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: books-read-2013
I have watched the Tour on Channel 4 and now ITV 4 for many many years now, and read as much about the sport and the riders as I can. It was nice to read up on the view from the journalist.

Boulting was a football journalist before landing in France 2 days before the start of the 2004 tour with almost no preparation. He was briefed by members of the team and dropped from a great height into the deep end. The first interview he had with a rider he asked about the yellow jumper (normally jersey) an
Sam Cook
Apr 19, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
As I am somebody who would love to cover sport as a profession and also developing an understanding and interest in the cycling world, Ned Boulting's How I won the Yellow Jumper was of great interest to be, and perfectly satisfied both of these areas.

The book follows real life events, from Ned's first Tour de France reporting task, where you see him grow from a reporter who was out of his depth, naively asking about a Yellow Jumper, to somebody who is now passionate about the sport, and takes a
Martin Sidgreaves
Aug 04, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: cycling, non-fiction
I was given this book as a birthday present and was keen to finish the book I was reading so I could start this one.

From the start I wasn't disappointed, from the start HIWTYJ was a captivating, entertaining, humorous and honest account of Ned's time on the Tour since 2003. He has tried to broach all areas of professional cycling from the great days of Armstrong to the dark days of the doping scandals and allows the reader a better insight to the workings of 'The Greatest Show On Earth' & th
Oct 05, 2015 rated it really liked it
Enjoyed this - some lovely insights into adventures, people and places from several years covering the Tour de France for British TV. Pleasantly surprised at how well it's written - never patronising or dumbed down as I was fearing an ITV reporter's book would be - but warm, intelligent and entertaining, and often very funny.

I guess it helps that I'm an occasional, casual fan so I'm familiar with Ned's TV work on football as well as cycling. I watch the Tour de France more for the French scener
Jul 10, 2012 rated it really liked it
Made me laugh out loud quite a few times, which is a pretty good test of a comedy book.

I've been watching the Tour since childhood with my Dad, but only got back into watching it daily recently. This book had just enough history to make it rooted in the Tour and keep it familiar.

I also liked the parts about the daily grind, like toilets or food, which illuminated a journalist's experience.

Loved the insights into the personalities of a few great riders, including members of Team Sky.

Made me want
Drew Buddie
Aug 24, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Having had this book recommended to me by people who knew I live watching the Tour de France, I enjoyed it every bit as much as I expected to. It is written in a really accessible, self-deprecating chatty style which instead of grating is endearing, particularly because the author is so open about his own fallibilities. From time to time it drops some bombshells as exemplified by the chapters about Lance Armstrong prepared me suitably for the news over the past 24hrs that Amstrong is no longer g ...more
Really enjoyed this. Having just read David Millar's book Racing Through the Dark: The Fall and Rise of David Millar it was interesting to see a lot of the same events from the journalists point of view.

It's a funny book. I started watching the tour not long after Ned started with the ITV coverage so I get how confusing it all is to start with, the teams, team tactics, the different races all happening within the same race...
Sep 02, 2013 rated it liked it
I "met" Ned Boulting this summer watching ITV's Tour de France coverage--with his presentations, humor, and interviews, I would have assumed that he was a former cyclist, like Chris Boardman. His memoir to the contrary was quite fun to read. It is really for the die-hard Tour de France fan, but the book is a fun ride through some of the personalities, the logistics, and everything that goes on behind the scenes. It's a quick and fun read.
Shelley Des Forges
Jan 02, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: recommend, 2014
Genuinely laugh out loud funny. As an avid tour fan I learnt a lot from Ned's experiences and am sure anyone fan or otherwise would enjoy this read. I'd be interested to know how he feels about Armstrong now that all has been revealed. A downside is the poor rendition of the pictures scattered throughout the text. This may be a non-issue if reading electronic versions. A highly entertaining read I would recommend to anyone.
Claire Webster
Jul 22, 2012 rated it really liked it
Not the greatest work of literature ever, and betrays some signs of being put together rather hurriedly, but offers a fascinating and often hilarious insight into the life of the journalists whose job it is to follow and report the Tour de France. I particularly liked the candid photos and the sense you are left with that, despite the long drives, tedious launderette experiences and bizarre toilet arrangements, they all have a tremendous amount of fun.
May 01, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: cycling
I really enjoy Ned's relaxed comedic approach to life and this comes over in this book. It documents Ned's movement from football fan and commentator asked to work on the Tour de France to huge cycling fan. I think a lot of cycling fans will identify with this dawning realisation of the love of our sport.
Self-deprecating and funny, well worth a read.
Adam Coatham
Mar 18, 2014 rated it really liked it
A light-hearted read that produced more than a few chuckles. This will not satisfy the cycling über-fan, as it's not about the science of the sport - it's about the human factor, documenting a TV crew's travels around France during the Tour, and one man's baptism of fire to learn a sport he knew nothing about. Very enjoyable, Ned Boulting shows a good dry humour throughout.
Jan 15, 2016 rated it really liked it
I am a real fan of cycling and the Tour de France in particular and I must admit I sometimes find Ned a little annoying on TV. However, this book was really entertaining and funny. The scale of the Tour and the logistics must be a nightmare and Ned gives us a bit of insight into the problems faced daily by Ned and his colleagues. Well worth a read.
russell barnes
Jul 05, 2011 rated it liked it
I really wished I read this during the actual Tour, as it felt a bit flat a few weeks later.

Partly this is due to the scattergun structure of Boulting's Tour memoirs, skipping forward and backwards in time, and from subject to subject. It is an interesting and fairly amusing read, but I suspect I would've liked it more a month ago, as I would've read any old cycling bobbins then...
Martin Mccann
Mar 03, 2012 rated it it was amazing
This is a great insight into the big days and small banalities that make up the Tour de France. I read this book of over 300 pages in two sittings-it has been a while since I have done that eith a book. Funny, honest, excruciating-it elicits many emotions but unlike so much cycling writing, it is accessible to the curious first timer as well as the road cycling fanatic.
Simba Sagwete
Mar 11, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Great book with funny, interesting anecdotes on what it's like to report on the world's biggest and best [bike] race as well as what it's like to swim around in British cycling. Interesting read though it's definitely a light read.
Dec 22, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Fantastic book, funny and very well written. A 'sideways look' at the Tour de France with interesting insights into the lot of a TV journalist and the characters of some of the riders. Made me laugh and smile and wanting more. It was an enjoyable read professionally written.
Sep 02, 2013 rated it really liked it
A very enjoyable read. Light and easy to put down and then pick up again. I enjoyed his writing style and some of the anecdotes made me laugh out loud. It would be interesting to read an updated version after the Armstrong fiasco
Jul 10, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

If you have watched the ITV Tour de France coverage over the years then this is definitely the book for you. Gives an entertaining and informative look behind the scenes of both the ITV team and the Tour itself. It was even more enjoyable as I read it during the 2012 Tour.
Paul Gonterman
Feb 02, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: cycling
All in all, it is a good read if you are looking to find out what the journalists covering the tour go through from day to day. I prefer cycling stories from the rider perspective. It does have a few stories that will make you laugh but it my opinion it was just average.
Peter Nuttall
Jun 28, 2012 rated it liked it
Mildly entertaining, but when a writer devotes a whole chapter to doing his laundry, it's a good indicator that the material is pretty thin. Which is a shame as Boulting's Real Peloton podcasts with Matt Rendell are never less than interesting. This however has far too much padding.
Dan Cohen
Sep 11, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sport

A very enjoyable read from the excellent Ned Boulting. His very English self-deprecating style belies the fact that he has become, over the years, a very good cycle sport presenter on British TV. This is a funny book with lots of great anecdotes. Well worth a read.

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