A Life on the Pedals
Pedro Delgado’s 13-year racing career spanned one of cycling’s golden decades. Riding against Hinault and Fignon in their prime in the early 1980s, then later against Roche and LeMond, through to mentoring Indurain in the 1990s, he took part in the Tour de France and in one of the other grand tours in every year but his first and last. His final haul of one Tour and two Vuelta victories perhaps does not do justice to his talent, but then he was a rider whose defeats were often every bit as memorable, and every bit as spectacular, as his victories, and they too could be accompanied by controversy.
An innate climber, he learned how to time trial, but it was that natural inclination to attack whenever the gradient steepened, whether wisely or impulsively, that would move spectators to tears – sometimes of pure joy; sometimes of bitter disappointment. But in the end he was always capable of a smile, because he knew better than most how to take those ‘two imposters of triumph and disaster’ in his stride.
More than a cycling biography, this book gives a rare and often amusing insight into the inner world of the professional peloton in that era – life in the team hotel; the obsessions about diet and health; the eccentricities and foibles of both the riders and their directors; as well as the loyalties and feuds provoked by this, the hardest of sports.