At Speed, the second autobiography from Mark Cavendish following 2010’s Boy Racer, covers the tumultuous three years between 2010 and 2013; including the highs of 2011’s Green Jersey and World Championship wins.
By focusing on this relatively small period rather than an entire career, the book is able to provide a lot more detail than one might expect. It is one of the better insights into the life of an elite pro cyclist that I have read: each page littered with the sacrifices, compromises, drive and passion that “Cav” makes every day of the year in order to maximise his innate talent and ability.
As you would expect from someone as newsworthy and allegedly controversial as Cavendish, At Speed does not shy away from discussing and explaining some of the more higher profile incidents that he met with during that time. But instead of the standard PR drivel that emanates from a lot of sports books, what you get is an honest appraisal of the situation, irrespective of who that means comes in for some criticism: friends, teammates and more often that not Cav himself.
The book doesn’t often stray away from Cav’s career but inevitably one chapter focuses on Lance Armstrong’s doping confession. Again, Cav is nothing but forthright but it’s hard not to agree with most of his conclusions, not least that those the same yardstick is not being applied across the piste to those involved.
All in all, At Speed proves a worthy companion to the increasingly prolific canon of books written about professional cycling and a fascinating understanding of possibly the most talented sportsman of his generation.
Twiction Lunch rating – 9 spokes out of 10