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Sean Kelly’s Hunger

The lean angular prose of Sean Kelly’s autobiography makes it almost seem as if you have sat down at a pub with him for a chat. Extraordinary accomplishments are offered with a humility that never seems false or fake, and the mundane details are just the ones a fan of cycling history would want.

Kelly’s was an era that many readers will remember, but the contrast to contemporary professional racing is boggling. It is nowadays inconceivable that a single rider could win the green jersey and place top five on GC in the Tour, win the Tour of the Basque Country, win the San Remo and win Paris Roubaix. Kelly did all of these in the span of a year (’85-’86). He would soon after win the Vuelta a España.

One inevitably reads about cycling these days with a bucketfull of cynicism. The sensations of honesty and myth in Hunger are seamlessly and pleasurably intertwined. This is a terrific book by one of the greats.

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An excerpt from Hunger