Book Review : Heroes, Villains & Velodromes by Richard Moore
Chris Hoy winning a life time achievement award at last nights BBC Sports Personality Awards, reminded me how much I had enjoyed Richard Moore’s book – Heroes, Villains and Velodromes. First published in 2008 and primarily focusing on Chris Hoy, it gives an unprecedented insight in to the secret worlds of track cycling at a time when everything was changing.
Written in three parts, the first part looks at Chris Hoy’s childhood, his early racing in BMX and teenaged track races at the frequently flooded velodrome in Edinburgh. Part two follows Chris Hoy’s season but also documents the massive changes in approach at British Cycling during the 1990’s and early 2000s. Changes that allowed British track cycling to totally dominate on the world stage. Part three looks at the build up to the Beijing Olympics but also looks into some of the bigger problems associated with elite sport, particularly doping and betting.
I really enjoyed this book, for its insight into what it takes to be an elite athlete, its description of some of the fabulous characters involved sport and for its ‘fly on the wall’ look at the advent of sport science in the UK. It beautifully descriptive and full of great information as well as the odd tip.