i believe it may have been mainstream press in edinburgh (i'm too settled and too far from the bookcase to check) who regularly published tour de france: the history, the legend, the riders by graeme fife. that particular book is currently in its 13th edition, and mainstream used to kindly sent me review copies each year. graeme fife is certainly one of the cycling world's finer writers, and this book is no exception to his literary skills, but it did present me with a problem in terms of attempting to present a half-decent review. the first edition i received was not too much of a stretch, since i had not previously read the substantial volume in its entirety.
however, the subsequently received review copies, i soon realised, were simply the previous year's book with an added chapter covering the most recent edition of the race. there was no diminution in the abilities of mr fife in the execution of his duties, but i did wonder as to who the book was intended to reach. mr fife's words, on the history, the legend and the riders are certainly worth reading, but i do wonder if anyone continues to purchase each successive volume to simply read about the tour they have doubtless watched on itv4 or eurosport. i can't see the publisher's accounts department being unduly worried, but it may be the perfect example of the law of diminishing returns in action.
so what then are we to make of the author of the relatively recently published 'how i won the yellow jumper' bursting out of his front door, holding the next chapter(s) in his repetitively strained fingers? the very chapter(s) that were not included as a part of the yellow jumper first edition. well firstly, these chapters cannot be realistically grasped in fingers of any hand, at least not in the manner that any mental picture of ned boulting could reasonably assimilate. for 'how cav won the green jersey' exists only in electronic format and is being sold as a bolt-on for the mere pittance of £2.74.
this, i think you will agree, is a practical solution for those already in possession of the now iconic yellow jumper; there is no reason to trouble that kindle device or ipad with pixels you're never going to read.
i cannot tell a lie; while the sending of review copies in e-book format is easily one of the most practical formats to help minimise the clutter in washingmachinepost cottage, the experience is not particularly akin to paper and ink. however, i am attempting to keep myself aware of modern technological trends, and there can be little doubt that it's the modern way, if a little rough around the edges.
in the finest tradition of self-deprecation, ned boulting more or less carries on where the yellow jumper left off. though the title bears some resemblance to the contents of the e-book's narrative, it would be a foolish reader who expected a simple blow by blow account of the tour stages that placed mark cavendish in his first green jersey. if i may quote from the opening page "This is the story of the lesser-known heroes; the Johnny Hoogerlands, the Thomas Voecklers, the hitchhikers, the maniac press drivers, Norbert Dentressangle and the greatest ever Tour de France (probably)"
in case you failed to find norbert dentressangle amongst the riders of even the less high-profile teams, let me disaffect you from your incomprehension; dentressangle is 'a major european transport, logistics, and freight forwarding company, founded in London in 1979', and were it not for mr boulting, i, along with many others i presume, would still be none the wiser, and it is testament to the e-book format that it was a simple operation to search and find the exact location where this was stated. the search format will also allow you to find the chapters containing reference to mark cavendish, thomas voeckler and simon carnochan. the latter character you will also fail to find in the team lists, for he is/was a teenager intent on hitch-hiking round the entire route of the 2011 tour, placing himself at the mercy of the french motoring public and, indeed, the generosity of the itv4 production crew.
in a moment of reality overcoming ambition, eighteen year-old carnochan even became chris boardman for a day.
in a longer than ideal momentary reprise of the yellow jumper incident that provided such an opportune title, sammy sanchez' stage victory at luz-ardiden apparently gave the itv4 production team what can only be described as dead-time. this entirely because sanchez' victory came well ahead of even the most optimistic race manual schedule. the resulting filler' concerned our hapless author interviewing sanchez in french, then listening to sammy replying in spanish, not a comrehensible language to our hero. "there was nothing for it but brute honesty. there was no wool to pull over eyes, and probably no eyes left watching anyway."
if you have not immeasurably improved your sense of well-being having purchased yellow jumper, now is the time to embrace technology and acquire the kindle or e-book edition, accompanying it with the sequel how cav won the green jersey. ned boulting has an admirably easy-going style of writing, a healthy sense of where he stands in the cycling firmament underlined by an acute sense of humour. with so much seriousness apparent in the last few days concerning formula one cycle racing, this is indubitably the ideal antidote.
how cav won the green jersey by ned boulting is published in e-book format by vintage digital (yellow jersey press) on march 1 2012 priced £2.74 (kindle edition)
posted wednesday 8 february 2012..........................................................................................................................................................................................................