The 10 Best cycling books

Experience the emotional and physical pain of professionals in a sport hit by a long-running drugs scandal

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The Independent Culture

1. The Secret Race, by Tyler Hamilton and Daniel Coyle

The award-winning, thrilling result of in-depth meetings between Hamilton, the man whose testimony precipitated Lance Armstrong's belated downfall, and the brilliant writer, Coyle. The definitive account of a depressing conspiracy that has scarred a sport.

£7.99, Corgi

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2. On the Road Bike, by Ned Boulting

The genial co-presenter of ITV4's Tour de France coverage goes in "search of a nation's cycling soul" as he meets the characters behind a modern, hi-tech obsession with modest roots.

£14.99, Yellow Jersey

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3. Wide-Eyed and Legless, by Jeff Connor

Way before Armstrong or Sky's heavily financed marginal gains, a British team called ANC Halfords battled against all odds in the 1987 Tour de France. Connor followed every pedal stroke in an account that has aged beautifully.

£10.99, Mainstream

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4. The Rider, by Tim Krabbe

In an idiosyncratic classic of sports literature first published in Dutch in 1978, the titular rider recounts in dark, compelling prose the pain and glory involved in a fictional race, covering 150km in 150 gripping pages.

£8.99, Bloomsbury

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5. Land of Second Chances, by Tim Lewis

The unlikely true story of two US ex-pros who travelled to Rwanda with visions of creating Africa's first world-beating professional cycling team. After showing early promise in a country filled with natural athletes, their pursuit endures more ups and downs than a Tour de France stage in the Pyrenees.

£10.99, Yellow Jersey

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6. The Rules, by The Velominati

A quartet of world-leading cycling snobs formalise the "rules" drawn up for the unenlightened rider on the Velominati website. They cover everything from jersey etiquette to the cultivation of tan lines (but not leg hair) – and beg to be broken.

£12.99, Sceptre

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7. Seven Deadly Sins, by David Walsh

The Sunday Times journalist recounts his dogged, career and life-consuming pursuit of Lance Armstrong and a story he knew was too good to be true. Now updated with the author's reaction to the latest events in Armstrong's exposure, including that Oprah confession.

£8.99, Simon & Schuster

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8. Racing Hard, by William Fotheringham

The doyen of British cycle writing collects more than 20 years of reporting from the top of a transforming, transformative sport, updating and annotating his accounts of the triumphs, tragedies and – inevitably – the scandals that have defined the sport he loves.

£12.99, Faber and Faber

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9. Domestique, by Charly Wegelius

Few riders have better expressed the physical and emotional pain of life in grand-tour servitude. A startling and, at times, hard-to-read account by a British rider who never won a race but pushed himself to destruction.

£16.99, Ebury Press

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10. Racing Through the Dark, by David Millar

The British doper who emerged from a ban to lead campaigns for clean cycling offers an eloquent, highly rated memoir about life in a troubled peloton.

£8.99, Orion

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