Giro d’Italia: The Story of the World’s Most Beautiful Bike Race (13 Apr 2017)
Born of tumult in 1909, the Giro d’Italia helped unite a nation.
Since then it has reflected it too; the race’s capricious and unpredictable nature matching the passions and extremes of Italy itself.
A desperately hard race through a beautiful country, the Giro has bred characters and stories that dramatise the shifting culture and society of its home: Alfonsina Strada, who cropped her hair and raced against the men in 1924. Ottavio Bottecchia, expected to challenge for the winner’s Maglia Rosa in 1928, until killed on a training ride, probably by Mussolini’s Black Shirts. Fausto Coppi, the metropolitan playboy with amphetamines in his veins, guided by a mystic blind masseur; and his arch rival Gino Bartali; humble, pious and countrified (and brave: recently it emerged he smuggled papers for persecuted Jewish Italians). The Giro’s most tragic hero – Marco Pantani, born to climb but fated to lose.
Halted only by World Wars, the Giro has been contested since 1909. The 2017 edition will be its one hundredth. This book celebrates it in all its kaleidoscopic glory.
Football’s Secret Trade: How the Player Transfer Market Was Infiltrated (14 Apr 2017)
A no–holds–barred exposé on the financial transactions of the world′s favourite sport.
The transfer fees clubs pay to sign top players now top 4 billion a year but much of the money has been flowing out of the game. A small group of wealthy investors including Russian oligarchs, English racehorse owners and a former billionaire gold miner have seized the opportunity to enter this booming market.
Some have moved in on the territory of banks and lent money to clubs in exchange for a share in fees generated by Cristiano Ronaldo, Neymar and dozens more of today′s stars. Others have acquired obscure teams to get a piece of the pie.
Even as the global financial crisis sent fortunes tumbling this select group found a profitable place to park their money. The size of the transfer market has continued to rise – it increased seven–fold in value the last two decades, more than the FTSE share index.
Between them, these wealthy investors have amassed hundreds of millions of euros in profits. At the same time, they have managed to stay out of the spotlight the world s most popular sport brings.
Football s Secret Trade follows the money along a trail very few know about, from nondescript offices in the U.K. and ramshackle stadiums of South American clubs you have probably never heard of to offshore bank accounts in the Caribbean. Warning you won t see a major transfer deal in the same light again.
Road Racer: It’s in My Blood (20 Apr 2017)
Michael Dunlop is quite simply the greatest road racer on the planet. Brother of William, also an accomplished rider, son of the late Robert and nephew of the late great Joey Dunlop, Michael can fairly claim that racing is in his blood. Now for the first time he talks in depth about his family story, how he got involved in the family business and how he manages to keep getting back on his bike despite all he knows of the deadly risks he encounters every time he crosses the start line.
The death of his uncle during a competition in Estonia in 2000 was followed just eight years later by the death of his father at the North West 200. But despite these tragic losses Michael was undeterred and, two days after his father’s death, he returned to the North West, and won. The next year Michael won his first TT, joining both his father and uncle in the record books.
Now with thirteen TT wins to his name Michael is a phenomenal competitor, and in this sensational autobiography he reveals the highs and lows of racing, what it was like growing up part of a motorcycle dynasty and how that made him the incredible racing driver he is today.
Following On: A Memoir of Teenage Obsession and Terrible Cricket by Emma John (20 Apr 2017)
Its one thing to be 14 years old and a loser. Its one thing to be the class swot, and hopelessly infatuated with someone who doesnt know you exist. But what kind of teenager is besotted with an entire sports team when the players are even bigger losers than she is? In 1993, while everyone else was learning Oasis lyrics and crushing on Kate Moss or Keanu, Emma John was obsessing over the England cricket team. She spent her free time making posters of the players she adored. She spent her pocket money on Panini stickers of them, and followed their progress with a single-mindedness that bordered on the psychopathic. The primary object of her affection: Michael Atherton, a boyishly handsome captain who promised to lead his young troops to glory. But what followed was one of the worst sporting streaks of all time a decade of frustration, dismay and comically bungling performances that made the England cricket team a byword for British failure. Nearly a quarter of a century on, Emma John wants to know why she spent her teenage years defending such a bunch of no-hopers. She seeks out her childhood heroes with two questions: why did they never win? And why on earth did she love them so much?
- Who holds the world record for the fastest marathon run in flip flops, or dressed as a beer can?
- The stories behind the running legends known as ‘Grandma’ and ‘The Buckeye Bullet’?
- Why a race in Tulsa, Oklahoma, is known as the Trail of Tears?
Running is the simplest, the most natural, the most wildly liberating and gloriously exhilarating of sports. All you need is a pair of trainers – and not even that, if you’re one of those barefoot-runner types – and you’re set. But the strength, determination and stamina required to get to the top of your game is something to be admired and aspired to. Collected here are all the most fascinating insights into the world of running – from its illustrious history to tales of modern-day greats – that you could ever need to inspire your next run. This miscellany is perfect for anyone who knows the incomparable joy of hitting the road, whether you’re on your first 5K or your latest ultramarathon!