Published by Andrew on 14 September 2016
Mark Stickland learns how performances are achieved at the Tour de France today, and how this can help you improve your road cycling.
Review: The Science of the Tour de France: Training secrets of the world’s best cyclists by James Witts (Bloomsbury)
In today’s world where even modest cyclists are happily using GPS cycling computers, social media such as Strava, heartrate monitors, isotonic drinks and energy gels, it’s amazing how much James Witts’s The Science of the Tour de France has a direct bearing on those of us who cycle. And while the book is perhaps aimed more at those leaning towards racing and competition, it makes great reading for anyone with a passing interest in cycling.
The book delves into a wide range of areas where science has had its effect on the world of elite cycling (from power meters and training methods to bikes, clothing, diet and even altitude training), but it does so in a clear and engrossing fashion that doesn’t read like a textbook from school days.
Witts draws you in with his informal style, peppering the text with fascinating anecdotes and interviews with riders, as well as the team of scientists, trainers and physiologists that are part of a modern professional cycling team.
Overall, The Science of the Tour de France is a highly recommended read for anyone hoping to improve their own performances or simply wanting to get an idea of how much the pro peloton has changed behind the scenes in the last 20 years due to the impact of sports science in all its aspects. Definitely one to add to the Christmas wish list.
About our reviewer
Mark Stickland (@sticklandmark) lives in the Yorkshire Dales and is a keen cyclist. Having toured across western Europe and west Africa, he has developed an appreciation for the sharp climbs of northern England, if not for the accompanying weather. He's reviewed a guide to cycling in the Lake District for us