One of THE 10 MUST-READ CYCLING BOOKS OF 2014 according to the influential Peloton magazine.
This is the story of Luis Ocana, the champion cyclist whose entire career constantly veered between heroism and tragedy, always missing out the middle way.
Born into abject poverty during Spain's 'years of hunger' and brought up in France, throughout his adult life he suffered from the effects of his childhood malnutrition and the perpetual question of self-identity - the common lot of the exile - Spanish or French, or neither one nor the other?
Enigmatic and contradictory, Ocana was driven by a fierce pride, and an all-or-nothing scorn for caution and careful calculation which made him one of the most dramatically exciting riders ever.This is a biography that has been a long time in the making.
Carlos Arribas, cycling correspondent of the newspaper El Pais, and Spain's foremost cycling author, has spent years compiling the material and admits that, even as a child, he was affected by Ocana's repeated misfortunes.What he has written is more than a conventional biography.
He defines it as a 'fictionalised life story', or a 'biographical novel'.All the duly documented facts are there, but to that solid skeleton has been added the flesh and blood of imagined (but totally plausible) conversations, meetings and encounters. These are not mere decoration; they serve perfectly to recreate the emotions and recollections of those who knew him, encountered him, loved him, or coped with him.
It also provides a compelling entry into exploring the complex personality of Ocana himself."If I was going to write one story about cycling it would have to be that of Ocana.
He was the cyclist who made us fall in love with cycling, who made us sense the truth of this sport: love, happiness and tragedy." Carlos Arribas