THIS ISLAND RACE Inside 135 Years of British Bike-racing
Why did Reg Harris want to become a professional road racer? Why did Britain’s top time-triallist sit on a dustbin to annoy the RTTC? Why did Jacques Anquetil want to put the British ’25’ record on the shelf for three decades? And what stopped British cycling being as great as it could have been? How could people passionate about bike-racing, and dedicated to the sport they loved, have made sure that it never became a major sport in Britain, and that British cycling never became a force in the world?
THIS ISLAND RACE has the answers … and all the fascinating anecdotes and insights that go with them. It tells of blood on the carpet, of lifelong feuds and personal animosities, and of the fear and suspicion that have riddled British cycling from the days of the penny-farthing. It could almost be a crime novel. But it’s the sport we love – seen from the inside.
Les Woodland never managed to trouble the judges as a racer, other than by making them hang about in the cold when they wanted to go home. But he has spent a lifetime in cycling as an organiser, coach and writer – in Britain, in Flanders and now in France. That, and a passion for the history of the sport, have given him an unusual insight into the dusty corners of British and world cycling. His books have been published across the world and in numerous languages.