Book Review: Riis – Stages of Light and Dark by Bjarne Riis

 

Riis

Stages of Light and Dark
by Bjarne Riis

Riis
I read this book for Cycling Shorts during the summer and it has taken me a long time to finally put my thoughts about it into words. Not that I have mixed feelings about the book I do not but I needed to take time to try to put into words my thoughts as I suspected that I might just be a little controversial.

 

I believe it is important for us to confront the issues raised and Riis was the fifth book I read in the summer that dealt with drugs in cycling. The first was Paul Kimmage’s Rough Ride, the second was David Millar’s Racing through the Dark [read Cycling Shorts review here], the third Laurent Fignon’s We were young and carefree, fourth Willy Voet’s Breaking the Chain [read my review here]. Each book gave me a different perspective or view of doping and substance abuse and its inherent and historic nature in cycling.

 

Each subsequent book made me feel that Paul Kimmage was being very unfairly treated as he really only scratched the surface and really did not reveal as much as others but what was clear is that he had opened pandoras box and the establishment was not happy.

 

What Riis has done with his book has really given a broad insight into the hard work and stresses that face a professional cyclist. Just like other cyclists Bjarne faces that difficult decision to dope or not to dope. Riis makes it totally clear that it was his call and his alone. No one forced him no one pushed him but he felt he had no option. Just like Darth Vader Riis stepped over to the darkside. Just like Lance; Riis, when quizzed never actually said he did not dope but edged answers in the same way any good politician does, “I have never tested positive, I have never given a positive test” rang out, persuading fans and team mates that he was clean. But was he, like others, fooling anyone? Probably not those close to the riders who often had a clear idea of what was happening but kept their heads down (to listen to Cycling Shorts interview with Ned Boulting on the subject click here).

 

As with Voets and Millar, Riis is very open about what he did and how me managed to avoid detection, however Riis goes further and deals with the effect on him emotionally of his choice. Like Millar he comes back and has a desire, or so he claims, to help clean up the sport and run a lean and clean team. The book covers the setting up and running of CSC which greatly complements the Nordisk film Overcoming about the 2004 Tour de France. Riis goes on to share his deep feeling of being stabbed in the back with the implosion of the team as the Shleck’s, Andersen, Nygaard and backroom staff plot against him and set up Leopard Trek. Once again Riis bounces back and with the drive an passion he has for the sport he loves he manages to rebuild and create a new team.

 

Riis’s book is a great read and I am surprised that Cycling News can write the article below. Pederson and the author of the article have obviously never read Riis Stages of Light and Dark as Riis clearly speaks out about his past in full. In my view, no he is not damaging cycling and its credibility, he has messed up and is trying his best to make amends.

 

Riis: Stages of Light and Dark by Bjarne Riis Cycling Shorts RatingRiis Stages of Light and Dark is a great read and I would highly recommend that you dash out and pick up a copy to read. 100%

Title:
Riis: Stages of Light and Dark  

Author:
Bjarne Riis    

Published by:
Vision Sports Publishing (14 May 2012)

Available in paperback, iBook & Kindle

Price:
RRP £12.99 (Paperback) RRP £12.99 (Digital)

 

 

Riis damaging cycling and its credibility, Danish UCI member says

By: Cycling NewsPublished: November 28, 2012, 17:05, Updated: November 28, 2012, 17:06Edition:Second Edition Cycling News, Wednesday, November 28, 2012

 

Saxo-Tinkoff team owner needs to “come out and talk”

Bjarne Riis and his teams have established Danish cycling in the world, but his actions now are “very damaging to the sport and its credibility,” according to the Danish representative at the UCI.  It is “high time for Bjarne Riis to come out and talk.”

Riis confessed in 2007 to having doped when he was a rider. He has since been named as providing doping advice, if not more, in various books and doping confessions from recent riders. The Saxo-Tinkoff team owner has consistently refused to comment on such matters.

“Here in Denmark we have a single problem in Bjarne Riis,” Peder Pedersen told feltet.dk. “His team and his comings and goings have been tremendously positive for the development of Danish cycling and the resulting high interest.

“But he keeps quiet at the moment and will neither confirm nor deny the allegations that are against him, it is very damaging to the sport and its credibility. All who follow it here can see that there are answers missing to some things, giving insecurity and losing credibility. So it is high time that Bjarne Riis comes out and talks.”

Since 2006, Pedersen has been a member of the Anti-Doping Foundation (CADF), set up to work with doping cases and to stay on top of anti-doping testing and developments. He is aware of the ironies involved.

“I have been involved in the Anti-doping Foundation for six years, where I have a clear conscience about what we have done. Of course it’s very uncomfortable, it appears at the moment. Although most of it belongs to the past, we should not be blind to the fact that it also reaches into the present and in the future. With the revelations that have come, then that is what we really need to make sure to get it handled.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tables Turn – The Pro Cyclist Interviews the Super Fan

L to R: Andy’s Dad, Andy Corkill & Ben Swift

Tom Murray chats to Andy Corkill

 

The 2012 Tour of Britain is set to be the best and most supported one ever, thanks to a hugely successful Olympic Games and a certain achievement of Bradley Wiggins and Team Sky in the Tour de France you may have to fight for your spot on the roadside to watch it!

One of those you can guarantee will be on the road side this year is Andy Corkill. Andy along with his dad has followed the Tour of Britain in its trip around the country each year since it took to our roads again in 2004. That’s not just a stage here and there but each stage each year.

In fact Andy is in danger of achieving fame at this rate. He isn’t hard to pick out along the route thanks to his ever present hat, which travel along during to the race too. In fact he is recognisable too much of the organisation, teams and even riders now, I spotted Andy myself while riding in the 2012 Tour Series crit easy enough. Who better to ask then for the fans opinion on the 2012 edition, than perhaps the most recognisable fan out there than Andy himself?

 

Andy, the 2012 Tour of Britain is upon us, are you ready for another hectic 10 days? And is your dad; someone you say on your own blog isn’t much of a cycling fan on board for another lap of the country?

I’m not sure, I am never ready for the start of the race, I have good intentions when the route is announced and have a grand scheme to plan where we are going to be on the side of the road, but it always arrives quicker than expected.  I always end up the night before a stage planning my route.

You are right; my Dad isn’t a cycling fan. He never follows what’s happening throughout the year, but he always attends events with me. He still says he doesn’t understand the racing and it goes too fast for him to pick out anybody. He loves the atmosphere at races and being with his son!

I always say it, but I must thank my wife who puts up with me disappearing to races all year and leaving her at home with the kids. Thanks Jo.

 

What do you most enjoy about following the race around?

I just love being there; I like the racing and the way it all works. Guess I’m nosy and being there every day allows you to see glimpses of what happens behind the scenes. It is so far removed from my day to day work sitting in front of a computer.

It may sound strange but driving is another part of it. I love driving and would drive all day every day. So if any team out there needs a driver get in touch!

 

The hotels, same as the riders or tucked away in a corner?

We always stay as near to the start as we can so there isn’t much driving first thing in a morning. We have never stayed in the same hotel as the riders, I’m sure the last thing they need at dinner or breakfast is fans leering at them.

I decided a long time ago that riders, NEG, police and the organisers had their own jobs to do and I’m not going to interrupt them. If people want to talk to us that’s fine, but I don’t ever want to be in the way.

 

You and your dad have become part of the race in a way now, back in 2004 when you when all this started did you see it going this far? 

When we first went in 2004 I had no intention of attending every stage again, it just grew into a life of its own.

It has been fantastic to see the event grow into the world class race it is now. It has established itself as a great race and is run at a perfect time to sharpen up for the world championships.

The number of spectators have grown year on year and this year, after the successes Britain has had, will be amazing. I’m worried that I may not get a good viewing spot at the finishes this year, there are going to be huge crowds.

 

The hat’s, we had to ask why and when did that happen? 

We started wearing the hats in 2007 so my older children could see us on the TV. I must admit, we used to be a bit embarrassed about it. We used to carry them until we got to the finish line, now they are the first thing on when we get out of the car.  It has been fun wearing them; we get recognised every day and have been asked for photo’s and once an autograph.

 

…and this year, a new design or the old faithful?

Old faithful. We have discussed a different one for next year for the tenth running of the race, but no decision yet.

 

So the 2012 edition…

 

Who are you most looking forward to catching a word/photo with on the race this year?

Rider wise, it’s got to be Bradley. But my youngest children’s favourite riders will not be riding the event, Tom Murray and Malcolm Elliott, they have never seen Malcolm racing as they are only 4 & 6, but fans of both men.

Other than that my son will think I’m the coolest if I get a picture with Kristian House.

 

Give us a prediction?… British winner this year maybe? 

As Cav has already had a stage race victory this year, maybe this could be one for him. I think Brad would ride for him to win the Gold Jersey.

 

Where will the race be won, do you see a crucial stage in there?

I think the final selection will be made in Wales and Devon. I know lumpy roads don’t suit Cav but he could find the legs especially with the support of Sky.

 

Who is going to bring the IG Markets gold Jersey home and win overall on in Guildford? 

Heart says Sky, head says Ivan Basso.

I have never been any good at picking winners except the year of 2009 with 3 predications right. That was Boasson Hagen’s year.

 

Keep up to date with Andy throughout this year’s Tour of Britain and beyond at www.corkadillo.co.uk

 

 

Thanks to Andy for his thoughts on the 2012 Tour of Britain, keep an eye on cycling shorts for more on the race.

 

Tom Murray

@tomminty

www.tommurraycycling.co.uk

Pro Cyclist for Team IG-Sigmasport

 

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