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Book Review: Ryan Barrett Reviews The Race
By Staff
Date: 5/17/2006
Book Review: Ryan Barrett Reviews The Race

Ryan Barrett - Book Review The Race
Ryan Barrett Reviews Dave Shield's novel about the tour de France. "The only complaint I can come up with (and I have to try) is..."

I jumped at the chance to review “The Race” as I’d been meaning to pick it up for awhile now. This is a classic coming of age story set around the Tour de France. The main character, Ben Barnes, finds himself with the opportunity of a lifetime. Ben knows he has what it takes to reach the top of the sport, but first he must overcome self-doubt, overbearing father figures, and the hierarchy of his European professional team.

As in any good novel, I found myself relating to the main character; probably more so with this book than any I’ve ever read. Ben takes up cycling at young age, and continually overcomes doubters ultimately leading him to the highest level of the sport. Although I never reached that top level, I think any athlete can relate to the highs and lows of competition, the mental barriers, and the road blocks placed along the way by others who don’t want to see you succeed.


Dave Shields does a fantastic job of describing the team structure, and the difficulties a rider faces trying to work his way up the team totem pole. I was equally impressed Dave’s take on the inner workings of the peloton; the game faces, the smack talk, and the riders’ desire to prove they have earned their place. Shields also clearly spent considerable time in the French Alps, giving the book a true feel with many of the classic climbs of the Tour described in detail.

The only complaint I can come up with (and I have to try) is that early in the book the writing was, to me, a bit choppy. Shields felt it necessary to explain the lingo of cycling and at times, I felt I was reading a cycling glossary. However, this is a minor complaint and the majority of the book read very well, and I should probably keep in mind that not all readers have the background in the sport that I do.
Overall, I loved this book and would highly recommend it to anyone. As for me, I am jazzed to read Shields’ follow-up “The Tour”.

Ryan Barrett is a former pro cyclist with the NetZero and Schroeder Iron teams. He was featured in the film “The Hard Road”, and is the current Utah State Road Race Champion. Please contact the site if you have a product for Ryan to review.

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The Race - A Tour de France Novel
Interview with Dave Shields author of The Race
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Book Review: The Tour Sequel to The Race by Vaughn Trevi

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