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Land of Second Chances: The Impossible Rise of Rwanda’s Cycling Team By Tim Lewis

Release date: 01st October, 2013
Publisher: Yellow Jersey Press

List Price: £16.99
Our Price: £10.99
You Save: £6 (35%)
Buy Now

Did you hear the one about Jamaica’s national bobsled team?

Famous in the manner of Eddie the Eagle, the awesome foursome of Devon, Dudley, Nelson and Michael ploughed into a mountain of snow on borrowed sleds at the 1988 Winter Olympics in Canada, failed to officially finish and inspired the film Cool Runnings.

Theirs was a triumph of hope over expectation, Walt Disney employing John Candy to play the coach for laughs.

Equally, the three words Rwanda’s Cycling Team might raise the odd guffaw from Tour de France fans, but Tim Lewis has constructed a serious story.

His meticulously researched work merits a wider audience than appealing to devotees of the biking fraternity – and will surely get one.

Sports book award judges love nothing more than a good cycling tale and this one is a cracker, featuring three main protagonists.

Meet African cyclist Adrien Niyonshuti, a wide-eyed seven-year-old when his family suffers horribly at the hacking hands of Hutu death squads in 1994.

With Rwanda a byword for genocide, atrocity on a par with Apocalypse Now gets an airing. The frightened boy grows up, however, destined to proudly carry his country’s flag at the London 2012 opening ceremony at the head of a seven-strong team of Olympic competitors.

Meet handsome Californian money man Tom Ritchey, inventor of the mountain bike and a winner most of his life until his wife leaves him devastated by unaccountably walking out on him after 25 years of marriage.

Meet American coach and convicted sex offender Jock Boyer, seeking redemption and drawn to the powers of endurance displayed by Rwandan cyclists.

Marvel at how the three men, victims of so much trauma (self-inflicted in Boyer’s case) and all in need of ‘Second Chances’, forge a successful partnership – not to mention a viable national cycling team.


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