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Boy Racer: My Journey to Tour de France Record-Breaker

3.83  ·  Rating details ·  1,037 ratings  ·  65 reviews
'Boy Racer' steps behind the scenes of the Tour de France. It unmasks the exotic, contradictory, hysterical and brutal world of professional cycling from the compellingly candid viewpoint of someone right in the thick of it.
Hardcover, 346 pages
Published June 1st 2009 by Not Avail
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Average rating 3.83  · 
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 ·  1,037 ratings  ·  65 reviews

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More memoir than biography this book covers the fourteen days that Mark Cavendish spent in the 2008 Tour de France. Each chapter tells the story of a stage. As Cavendish relates the stage, each chapter also falls back to a story from his past - from his childhood, from his academy days or from his more recent days as a neo-pro. The transitions feel both natural and relevant. My only real niggle is that some chapters felt a little light on the details of the present day stage race. Which, after a ...more
Gumble's Yard
Mar 19, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2009
Candid and enjoyable autobiography which gives a good insight into Cavendish – his “heart on sleeve” approach, his confidence in his own ability, his love for his Colombia team, his interesting relationship with British Cycling (e.g. he is very anti the focus on tests and metrics but as obsessed as them with the idea of aggregated marginal gains).

Book’s structure is a chapter on each stage of the 2008 Tour de France each also including detail either chronologically through his life or relevant t
Dec 01, 2010 rated it really liked it
Very pleasantly surprised. I read almost the entire book on a (long) flight. I never liked Cav - OK, as a Hushovd fan I consistently root against him - but he is a rare talent. As sports autobiographies go, this one is, well, shockingly, good. (I'm guessing that, even if you don't follow and love bike racing, you could enjoy this. This guy really wears his heart on his sleeve...) I can't say I like the guy more now, but I enjoyed the book. He either had a strong editor or a terrific ghost writer ...more
Dec 29, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction-read
I like Mark Cavendish and really enjoyed reading this. It's nice and refreshing to have a cyclist who doesn't dope and enjoys bikes more than 'cycling.' He's someone who isn't all about winning. He wears his heart on his sleeve and doesn't seem to be ashamed about it.

In 2009 I got to meet Mark at the Tour of Missouri and have liked him even more since meeting him. He's a great guy and enjoyable to watch race. It's great to see him embrace the kid in him. I hope he never changes as more and more
Dec 25, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Quite an enjoyable and informative book. Some people have said the book reinforces their dislike for Cavendish, I personally think that I like him more now than I did before. His honesty about his own shortcomings is endearing.
All in all an enjoyable book, still not amongst my favourite cyclists but I now have more time and respect for him.
Barry Bridges
Apr 06, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: bio, cycling
You should all read this book. Along with his clear passion for the sport Cavendish is not afraid to say what he thinks nor wear his heart on his sleeve. I found myself feeling the highs and lows along with him, sympathising and empathising. A great book!
James Thompson
Read this book based on what I saw someone write about it. Started out not really liking Cavendish much, but as I read on, I gained a respect for him and his accomplishments. In the end I'd have to say I became a fan. I thought it was a great account of his life and his accomplishments to date.
Sep 04, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: bicycle-cycling
I am impressed that, as far as I can tell, he actually wrote it. Cav is a much better writer than 99.9999% of writers are bike riders. Also, as many reviews have noted, reading this book made me like him more. Sure, he's a bit brash and obnoxious, but he seems like a good guy.
Sep 19, 2009 rated it really liked it
Full of insight in the professional cycling circus and the mind of the brilliant sprinter Mark Cavendish.
Martin Linkov
Jul 16, 2010 rated it liked it
Shelves: cycling
Incredibly life coverage of Cav's first tour, the sprints, the trains, the preparation, the bets, the 1200 watss, awesome!
Aug 28, 2012 rated it liked it
entertaining if you enjoy professional bike racing, but otherwise probably give it a miss
Jan 13, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: bicycling
BOY RACER by Mark Cavendish was written in 2009 after his initial success in the 2008 Tour De France. While I acknowledged Cavendish’s ability to win racers, the race coverage and his interviews had left me with a dislike of his arrogant attitude. Also his easy-looking sprint wins often took the joy out of watching close competitive races. For me being a fan of Cavendish was like being a Yankee’s fan.

However, the book changed my perspective. The book shows he has worked hard to achieve success
Nov 26, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2010-reads
Fantastic. I've been a Cav fan for a long time now and this book just confirmed it. Not only is he Manx which is a big plus in my book (it was fun to know the locations he talks about on the Isle of Man from the Fairy Bridge to Laxey, Douglas, and Castletown) but he can write. My understanding is that this book was not ghost-written--somewhat unusual in the world of autobiography.

As a racing fan, I love the "inside baseball" aspect of pro cycling. Cavendish talks about general pre-race prep and
Andrew Smith
Dec 25, 2011 rated it really liked it
I always thought Cavendish was a moody, surly guy who was unappreciative of the success that had come his way. After reading this very frank account I haven't completely changed my mind but I think the unappreciative bit's a trifle harsh. he clearly attributes much of his success to the brilliant team he has around him and it's obvious he's worked extremely hard to achieve what he has. Is he surly and moody? Yes, I still think he has that side to him. But I think I understand him better and real ...more
Dec 29, 2011 rated it liked it
Simply written with at least typos I felt like this was a bit of a rush job.

Knowing what an awesome 2010 and 2011 year that Cavendish had I was disappointed that the book was written `so long ago'. Maybe another book will emerge later on his career.

I understand that the 2008 success at the Tour de France gave Cavendish the authority to write this book, but it would have been such a better story if it was written this year instead.

Still interesting to read how he views his rise to success and esp
Phil George
Aug 17, 2012 rated it really liked it
A really good read which gives an insight into the very confidant Mr Cavendish from the Isle of Man. He wears his heart on his sleeve and pulls no punches when he describes his experiences from his early love of cycling right up to his fantastic Tour de France of 2008 and then the subsequent disappointment of the Olympics in Beijing a month or so later. It's a shame the book is a few years old as it would be nice to read about his subsequent membership of Team Sky, his world championship win and ...more
Andy Gibson
Wish there was a 3 1/2 star option.

I usually don't read this "barely out of nappies" type of autobiography and this is a good example why. While for what it is it is an certainly an enjoyable read there is no real depth to it due to everything being so recent.

I like Mark's writing style. It's like the man - pretty direct and to the point. There are some interesting insights about where he came from and what's it's like to compete at the highest level, but it all could have been so much better i
Aug 09, 2012 rated it really liked it
Nice book on the early years of the cyclist Mark Cavendish. Combining his early years with 2 weeks in the 2009 Tour De France, you get to know the person that is Mark Cavendish.

Some really nice stories from his past in the UK cycling team as well as his early years as a pro-tour rider.

Written with the kind of sarcasm / cynicism and good sense of humor that the world has got to know him.

Very nice read, deserves a follow up once Cavendish has retired. Mandatory read for each cycling fan.

Dan Cohen
Aug 03, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: sport, biography
An easy and enjoyable read, giving the story of Cavendish's 2008 Tour de France with flashbacks to his career to that point. It's not a great work of literature but it's a good read for anyone interested in the sport of cycling. I agree with another reviewer that the ghost writer has shown deftness of touch in ensuring that Cavendish's personality shines through.

Of course, Cavendish's career has gone on a long way between 2008 and the time I read the book (2013) but I guess we'll get a "part 2"
May 27, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I wouldn't consider myself a cycling fan - I have enjoyed watching the cycling in the Olympics and the very occasional bit of the Tour de France but that's it. What I have seen of Mark Cavendish in interviews, however, was enough to make him seem sufficiently interesting to read his book. I feel I had to give this book 4 stars on the basis that it held my attention enough for me to read most of it in one sitting. I haven't read a sportsperson's autobiography before so I enjoyed the insight into ...more
Carrie Ridgeway
Jul 09, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: bpl, bicycling
Who would ever have thought that I would become obsessed with the sport of pro-cycling? July 2010 saw me glued to the DVR'd episodes of the Tour de France. That is when I started rooting for Mark Cavendish. I love his emotional passion for the sport. Cavendishs' book, BOY RACER, was an enjoyable read for someone who follows the sport. It really helps you see another side to the TDF as seen through a pro's eyes. I'll be rooting for Cav in 2011!
Stuart Lew
Jan 10, 2011 rated it liked it
Surprisingly well written for by the Fastest Man on Two Wheels. Given the schedule pro cyclists have I expected this to be ghostwritten and a little dry but Cavendish is passionate about everything he does and it comes through in his account of the 2008 TDF and other races that year. His upbringing is woven into his tale as well. This is a great book for those interested in a behind the scenes look at pro cycling. I found it very motivational about life in general too.
Sep 17, 2013 rated it liked it
Boy Racer is an autobiography of the British (Manx) sprinter Mark Cavendish up until the 2009. The most fascinating parts of the book concerns his relationship with other riders and especially with the high mountain passes that he has to climb in the three grand tours. Mark appears to be just like you would see in his interviews - brash but very thankful and complementary to his teammates. This book is probably just for the hardcore cycling fan - unlike Lance Armstrong's books.
Hella Comat
Mark Cavendish's autobiography of his cycling career so far. On TV - Tour de France coverage - he appears to be so confident and arrogant, but the book gives a better understanding of his passion for racing, the impossibly hard training, and the whole racing culture. I guess no sports are as glorious as they appear on TV:)
Aug 25, 2011 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
If you are a Cavendish fan - don't read this book. I used to like him - from watching the Tour. Through the first part of the book, I felt I could write-off some of what he said as immaturity ... but then it became more and more apparent that he is indeed a jerk. Just the same, I really did enjoy learning about the Tour from a sprinter's perspective.
Stephen Viller
Dec 30, 2011 rated it really liked it
Maybe a bit early for an autobiography, but enjoyable anyway. Heart on sleeve account of Cav's entry into professional road cycling, and his emergence as the fastest man on two wheels. He's a bit full of himself, but this seems to be the norm for sprinters. The paperback version has extra content over the hardback.
Rivo Sarapik
Sep 25, 2012 rated it it was amazing
There are two different Mark Cavendishes - the one you see from the media and the one you discover from his book. I was surprised to see, and be reminded, that even the best in the world have doubts, depths and issues, difficulties to overcome. The book, more memoir than autobiography, is funny, gives you insight into procycling and is entertaining to read.
Dec 10, 2012 rated it really liked it
Whilst not the biggest cycling fan, its a common subject in my house, and I actually bought the book for my partner before taking it back and devouring it in 4 days. Compulsive reading, it feels as though your flicking through a memory or photo book with Cav, hearing the stories behind snapshots of his life. I think the sequel will be the next pressie for the other half ;-)
Nov 29, 2010 rated it really liked it
Have to say I read this in one day. Very interesting insight into the world of pro cycling and into the mind of Cav. Now I have lost the book to my daughter's clutches, to go along with the Cav posters on her wall!!!
May 19, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2012
What annoyed me more than anything about this book was the serious amount of printing errors. Entirely missed words and spelling mistakes littered this book. I can't help but think the publishers deemed it less important because it was 'just' a sports biography, which is pretty disgraceful
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