Boy Racer by Mark Cavendish
Release date: 19th June, 2009
Publisher: Ebury Press
Our Price: £10.99
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Unless you've spent some time on Mars over the past month, you will know that the football season returns this weekend, swamping all before it in wave after wave of written and broadcast coverage, doubtless en route to another breathtaking finish next May. And then we have the World Cup.
How do other sports get a look in?
Andy Murray's star was in the ascendant for a while during the period laughably known as 'summer' and the Ashes will have to compete for our attention from now on, unless Australia win at Headingly.
Once again, a Brit failed to win the Open (it's a decade since Paul Lawrie won at Carnoustie) or any other golf major. The Lions tour could only be described as a disappointment and even Jenson Button appears to have lost his touch.
How British sports fans crave success on a grand scale; granted, Premier League football teams will undoubtedly dominate this season's Champions League, but as 70% of sides comprise foreign players, are they genuinely British clubs?
That's a discussion for the pub, but meanwhile, it could be argued that for three weeks in July, one man was worthy of the accolade, 'Britain's best sportsman', though I suspect the majority of sports fans have never heard of him.
A couple of weeks ago, Mark Cavendish once again bided his time for more than 100 miles, sitting on his team-mates' shoulders before bursting away along the Champs Elysee in a display of unbelievable sprinting power that destroyed the Tour de France's impressive field. Paris was Cavendish's sixth stage win in this year's Tour, a new record for a British rider, though he missed out on claiming the coveted green sprinter's jersey following a controversial complaint from his main rival, Thor Hushovd, on stage 14. If he rides as well next year, Cavendish is a cert to wear green in Paris.
Boy Racer was published a couple of weeks before the Tour and rather unusually, at the book's launch, Cavendish said it was too early to offer his complete story. His "biggest motivation for writing it", he said, had been to offer an explanation of his character. Like most top-notch sportsmen, Cavendish does not lack confidence and has an ego of monumental proportions. But the guy is a winner.
In many respects, Boy Racer is as opinionated as anything Ian Botham might write, as controversial as Geoffrey Boycott and as well written as any sports book you're likely to pick up this year. If this is only half of the Cavendish story, the second tranche will be worth waiting for.
Unlike some British sportsmen, 'Cav' displays a visible will to win; it's evident on every page of this excellent book, which possibly explains the liberal quantities of industrial language. You do not need to be a cycling fan to enjoy Boy Racer, just a lover of sport who suspects the football season comes round a tad too early each year. ..
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