Domestique: The Real-life Ups and Downs of a Tour Pro

Domestique: The Real-life Ups and Downs of a Tour Pro

For 11 years I was a professional cyclist, competing in the hardest and greatest races on Earth. I was in demand from the world's best teams, a well-paid elite athlete. But I never won a race. I was the hired help.

When my mum dropped me off in a small French town aged 17, I was full of determination to be a professional cyclist, but I was completely green. I went from mowing the team manager's lawn to winning every amateur race I entered. Then I turned pro and realised I hated the responsibility and pressure of chasing victory. And that's when I became a domestique.

I learned to take that hurt and give it everything I had to give, all for someone else's win. When the order came in to ride it was I pushed out with the hardest rhythm I could, dragging the group faster and faster, until my whole body screamed with pain. There were times I rode myself to a standstill, clutching the barrier metres from the line, as the lead group shot past. But that's what made me a so good at my job.

As my career took off, I started looking at the fans lining the route, cheering us like heroes. The passion for cycling oozed off them, but they couldn't know what it was really like. They didn't see the terrible hotels, the crazy egos or all the shit that goes with great expectations. Well, this is how it is.

Title:Domestique: The Real-life Ups and Downs of a Tour Pro
Edition Language:English
ISBN:9780091950934
Format Type:

    Domestique: The Real-life Ups and Downs of a Tour Pro Reviews

  • Monica

    Wegelius is whiny and mundane. Plus he doesn't like Cadel Evans. That's a non starter with me.3.5 StarsEdited to Add: Read the kindle edition....

  • Toby McMillen

    This was an interesting read; as a cycling fan who watches European races whenever possible (due to limited US tv coverage), I was very familiar with Charly Wegelius, and had a great deal of respect f...

  • boogenhagen

    Really interesting look at behind the scenes in Grand Tour cycling. While this isn't a big American sport, cycling is huge worldwide and a billion people watch the Tour de France. CW shows what it tak...

  • Peter

    After listening to Charly Wegelius on Mike Creed’s podcast I decided to pick up Charly’s book, Domestique. I admit I was not familiar with Charly or his cycling career but quickly found myself eng...

  • Laura Walin

    A well written sports book is a joy. It manages to to capture the intensity of a professional athlete into words and the reader notices that she is holding her breath while reading, in the same way as...

  • Gumble's Yard - Golden Reviewer

    Well written and distinctive book – key themes include: Wegelius’s embrace of Italian racing (and his view that this led to him being unappreciated by English speaking fans and media): his natural...

  • Simba Sagwete

    Incredible book that takes the sheen of the world of professional cycling. A classic illustration of "be careful what you wish for". Most books about cycling focus on what's so great about it but this...

  • Ron S

    The best look at life in the peloton since Paul Kimmage's Rough Ride (1990). Wegelius began his career riding for Vendee U in 1996, and his career included stints with the Linda McCartney Racing team,...

  • Gregg Kellogg

    An exciting account of the life of a yeoman professional cyclist. The inside into the world of professional cycling and the inside scoop on the workings of road races is illuminating. Charley makes yo...

  • James

    Due to the recent success of the British Cycling program, most cycling books tend to be successful Britons or tour winners from other countries whose translated books might find a big enough audience....