The Road Book's 2023 Highlights

The Road Book's 2023 Highlights

By Henrik Bassett

 

2023 is coming to a close, and what a landmark year it has been! We hope you all enjoyed it as much as we did here at Road Book headquarters.

This year was one of change, and growth for your favourite cycling almanack, and we thought we’d let you in on a few of our highlights, from our favourite cycling events we attended, to our first time releasing two books in one calendar year.

 

The Road Book at Via.

 

The year started off with a bang, as we joined the Rouleur team for an exclusive launch event at the fantastic Via store in Coal Drops Yard, King’s Cross. It’s always a pleasure to work with Rouleur, and we had a wonderful time meeting so many of our wonderful readers, chatting all things cycling and attending some fascinating talks by the incredible panel of guests, including our Editor Ned Boulting in conversation with Rouleur’s talented editor (and former Road Book Contributor) Ed Pickering.

We can’t think of a better way to start our cycling year, and so excited were we, that we decided it was time to launch another book series!

 

 

The Road Book 1989

 

June of 2023 was a massive month for us; we moved our headquarters to Camden and more importantly, launched the first edition of our long rumoured ‘Blue’ series.

The Blue series of Road Books take a trip even further down memory lane than our Red editions, focusing on a seminal year of cycling history and dissecting it with all the same verve and attention to detail you would expect from a traditional Road Book.

 

"They say you never know what is going to happen in the past, and the new 1989 Blue Book is the proof" Matt Rendell.

 

Matt Rendell took over as editor, lending his authoritative voice to this journey through one of the most exciting years in the sport, the year of the closest Tour de France finish, the Tour de Trump and the fall of the Berlin Wall.

A year of the finest of margins in cycling as Greg Lemond won the Tour, the American beating Laurent Fignon in the most dramatic fashion on the Champs Elysees after a tense time trial. Lemond won by a gap of only 7 seconds, or the length of one flowing French ponytail.

The Road Book 1989 delves into this race in exquisite detail, with an intensely personal memoir penned by Greg’s wife, Kathy Lemond, on her experience supporting him through his recovery from the horrific accidental shooting he suffered two years prior to that insane comeback.

The book also contains essays by Sean Kelly, Edwig Van Hooydonck, Ned Boulting, Pippa York, and Jeff Quenet, covering everything from van Hooydonck’s victory at the Tour of Flanders, to Ned’s exploration of the end of the Cold War’s influence on successive generations of cyclists who emerged from behind the Iron Curtain.

This book is a real labour of love, requiring intensive archival research in various libraries, trawling through back issues of long defunct newspapers and magazines for race results of now deceased former fixtures of the cycling calendar. But the long trips, late nights, blood, sweat and aggravated caffeine addictions were all worth it. Many of you loved The Road Book 1989 as much as we loved making it, and who knows, maybe once we’ve recovered, 2024 will bring another retrospective Blue Book with it? Perhaps a modern, 21st century version?

 

 

The Road Book on Tour

 

It has long been a dream of ours to take The Road Book on tour. So many of our passionate readers and Road Book Society members write to us from around the world with words of encouragement, essay pitches and recommendations of races to attend.

For the first time in 2023, we were able to send our friends and Road Book family out to see some of our favourite races in person. Friend of the Road Book, Peredur ap Gwynedd of Welsh language Tour de France commentary on S4C fame (or you might know him from his side project, the band Pendulum), took our Instagram followers on a behind the scenes tour of this year’s Giro d’Italia in May. What a treat it was, our own mini ‘Giro d’Italia: Unchained’ from a commentator’s perspective, getting a first hand look at what it’s like to be on the finish line of one of the world’s finest stage races.

In July, we also managed to sneak a member of our team out to the finish of Stage 14 of The Tour de France in Morezine Portes du Soleil. What a stage it was, with Pogačar’s chase beginning to crack, his big attack foiled by a misplaced TV motorcycle, and Carlos Rodriguez shooting past the GC contenders to claim a well-deserved stage win. Of course, the cycling world’s real highlight was spotting a Road Book banner draped across the barriers just a few metres from the finish line.

Though we only reached the Giro and The Tour for a single stage, we loved getting there, seeing the fire and passion of so many cycling fans and hearing all your amazing stories, we’re hoping to get out to many more next year! And if we do, maybe you’ll get an invite to dinner.

 

The Road Book 2023

 

Then in November, as the season rolled to a close, it was time for the Big Red One.

“Nothing stayed still for long”

The 6th edition of our definitive guide to cycling is the largest, and dare we say, the best version yet. With close to 1000 pages of exclusive data and infographics from every professional race in the men’s and women’s calendar, The Road Book 2023 truly is a bumper edition of the world’s only cycling almanack.

This year also featured exclusive ‘In the Winners Words’ from none other than Mark Cavendish, covering his heart-warming stage win at the Giro; Victor Campenaearts; Lotte Kopecky and Demi Vollering. All alongside essays by the best and brightest of cycling Journalists such as Kate Wagner’s fantastic piece on the success of Tadej Pogačar and how it has affected his relationship with Slovenian cycling; and Iain Treloar’s dissection of Thibaut Pinot’s emotional final season in cycling. The contributions of Giles Belbin, Callum Devereux, Amy Lauren Jones, Katy Madgwick, Brian Nygaard and Marijn de Vries also make fantastic reading.

But perhaps the cream of the crop was Lizzie Deignan’s refreshingly honest and open account of her unprecedented return from the birth of her second child. A piece which lays out the mental toughness and determination required to make it as a professional cyclist, alongside just how far Women’s cycling has come, even since we started publishing in 2018.

This lovingly put-together compendium truly is the best way to relive the remarkable, dizzying season of cycling that was 2023, and your reception was truly amazing. The Road Book 2023 was our fastest selling edition yet, with every single copy selling out before the end of the year!

From the bottom of our hearts, Thank You! We can’t wait for next year.

 

The Road Book at Rouleur Live

 

Rouleur Live has long been a fixture of the cycling calendar, one last big party to round of the year. This time, The Road Book 2023 made a special appearance, in honour of this edition being available for sale on the Rouleur website, the only place, other than theroadbook.co.uk, where you can purchase one of our mighty tomes.

We loved attending, chatting with all of you and rubbing shoulders with the stars. We met so many of our wonderful Road Book Society members, and we hope to see you all again soon.

 

What a year! We’ve got so much planned for 2024, and we can’t wait to tell you all about it, with Blue, Red and maybe even a bit of Green on the horizon. But that will all have to wait until next year.

 

Until then, we bid you au revoir, and a very happy New Year to you all.

 

The Road Book Team.

Leave a comment

Please note, comments need to be approved before they are published.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.