With action/lifestyle sports broadcaster Hummer, world-class cyclist Hincapie recounts his career spent in the shadow of disgraced champion Lance Armstrong.
It’s tough to determine whether the fairly recent resurgence of popular interest in competitive cycling is due to the racing itself or to the doping controversy that has surrounded it for the past decade. Whatever the case, the now-retired former cycling phenom Hincapie feels compelled to share his story with the world. Unlike prima donnas like Armstrong and Tyler Hamilton, the author’s role in many Tour de France (and other) international cycling victories was mainly one of team-oriented strategy in making sure his team’s star member shined as brightly as possible in every race. Of course, this more secondary role still won Hincapie plenty of accolades, but it also did not prevent him from eventually indulging in the same sort of illegal performance-enhancing drugs that Armstrong and most of the other stars of the sport were using. It’s interesting to note that Hincapie’s depiction of Armstrong rarely acknowledges Armstrong’s nasty competitive side, owing most likely to the fact that Hincapie never seriously challenged Armstrong and so never caught the full wrath of the world’s foremost cycling celebrity. The author is not exactly contrite when it comes to his role in the doping scandals, either: Like Armstrong and other PED users, Hincapie saw doping as an unfortunate but necessary evil. Much like Hamilton’s The Secret Race: Inside the Hidden World of the Tour de France (2012), this book ultimately serves to tear away the gentlemanly facade of competitive cycling to reveal the sport’s profoundly unromantic underbelly.
A straight-edged, readable memoir that will do little to polish cycling’s tarnished reputation.