More book reviews for a rainy day . . .
We Might As Well Win. By Johan Bruyneel (with Bill Strickland).
Starting out with a more honest title than Lance Armstrong's "It's not about the bike", Johan Bruyneel gets straight to the point. If you are going to be involved in the highly, highly competitive world of cycling, "you might as well win."
This book serves a few masters. First, it is clearly "in" Johan's voice, which is an accomplishment for a book that may have been ghost-written. If you have heard interviews with Bruyneel, that same voice comes across the page and tells a few good stories. Second, this book goes out of its way to claim some of the credit for Lance Armstrong's success. This is a reasonable thing for a team manager in a team sport to do, but I suppose the enormous magnitude of Lance's success makes this a harder task and it seems slightly desperate at times in its tone. Third, this books sheds light on the cycling life of Bruyneel pre-Lance, where he was not a TdF contender but a damn fine cyclist and well-respected, and also on the personal side of the cycling races.
All in all, I have to confess that the general public maniacal admiration for Lance turns me off, but I really enjoyed reading this book. Johan is a fairly straight-forward, plain spoken person in this text and it works well. My guess is that Johan is also a hell of a poker player, metaphorically speaking, and it may not behoove him to shed unnecessary light on the dark underbelly of cycling, but as long as it is viewed in this way, it is a good read for any cycling fan and certainly for the cycling cognoscenti (or chamois sniffer as Rider One would put it).