David Walsh and Charlie Wegelius are the two authors whose cycling books have broken into the longlist of the William Hill Sports Book of the Year. David Walsh’s Seven Deadly Sins: My Pursuit of Lance Armstrong and Charlie Wegelius’ Domestique: The True Life Ups and Downs of a Tour Pro are two of 17 books currently nominated for the title.
Cycling books have seen success in this competition in the past with Paul Kimmage winning the second ever edition of the award in 1989. Last year, Tyler Hamilton won the title with his exposé on the doping practices within the sport The Secret Race; and Lance Armstrong claimed the prize in 2000, with his biographical It’s Not About the Bike, which was subsequently revealed to have a strong element of fiction about it.
Armstrong and doping have both been victorious topics in the past, and the fact that both topics converge in David Walsh’s Seven Deadly Sins, and that he was so instrumental in the Texan's fall from grace suggest that Walsh's book has a lot going for it. On the other hand Tyler Hamilton won last year with his account of doping in the pro peloton, and while use of illicit substances can be addictive reading about them may be less so.
Wegelius’ story has garnered some very positive reviews in the cycling media and while on one level it couldn’t be further from Walsh’s thematically there is a link Seven Deadly Sins in that both are exposes. In the case of Domestique it is in to the harsh and gritty reality of life as a pro cyclist paid to get the star man to the line first. Those who know apparently rate it as a truly authentic portrayal of life in the modern pro peloton.
The competition is due to cut its longlist down to a somewhat shorter shortlist on the 25 October, and a winner is due to be announced live on BBC Radio 4’s Front Row on 27 November.
The full longlist is below, listed alphabetically by author.