Book Review: A Significant Other

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08/15/2004| 0 comments
by Ian Melvin

Book Review: A Significant Other

Victor Hugo Pena shares first hand his experience of being a part of the Tour and the US Postal team in the centenary edition of the race.

Review of the book A Significant Other by Matt Rendell.


Matt Rendell shot to literary fame a few years ago with the release of his first book, Kings of the Mountains, which accompanied his acclaimed film by the same title.  Kings of the Mountains was a story of the history of Columbian cycling.  Whilst working on the book, Rendell developed strong friendships with a number of Columbian top riders including US Postal rider, Victor Hugo Pena.  A Significant Other follows Pena through the 2003 Tour de France, a race in which he wore the Maillot Jaune ­- a first for his country.  Rendell pays particular attention to the race changing stage that finished at Luz Ardiden, examining at great length the role of the Columbian and his fellow domestiques on that day in the <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 /?>


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Pena shares first hand his experience of being a part of the Tour and the US Postal team in the centenary edition of the race.  Having placed a very creditable 6th place in the opening prologue time trial in
, victory a few days later in the team time trial catapulted the Columbian to the head of the General Classification and into the yellow jersey.  Success was short lived for the former Vitalicio Seguros rider, as the race headed into the Pyrenean foothills, Pena surrendered the responsibility of leading the other two hundred or so riders around France, and reverted back to his more familiar team duties as the leading riders sped towards the stage finish atop Luz Ardiden.


Interspersed with Pena?s ?on the road? observations, Rendell offers a wonderfully charming and  thought provoking narrative examining the evolution of the race and the changing role of the domestiques during its internationalization over the past one hundred years.  Just where would the champions of our sport be without their workers?  How good would Armstrong be without his Pena, Hincapie and Landis?


This book is a fantastic read, but don?t go expecting the usual day-to-day diary of a tour rider.  These riders are a very special breed indeed and this book is Rendell?s tribute to Pena and his fellow domestiques. Use the link below to order the book today!


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