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Chased by Pandas: My life in the mysterious world of cycling

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Martin seemed to break a glass ceiling, his win suggested the top steps of the podium weren’t reserved for those entangled in doping scandals. In 2013 as he took victory in Liège-Bastogne-Liège Dan Martin wasn't even aware he had been chased by someone dressed as a panda.

But since then, no, apart from when I was lying in a hospital bed in agony with a broken collarbone (his Giro crash in 2014). You can change your choices at any time by visiting Cookie preferences, as described in the Cookie notice. Dan is unashamed when it comes to exposing these dark feelings, his weaknesses and how he tried to deal with them, his attitude exemplifying Mark Twain’s quote: “Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear, not absence of fear”. I’ve always aspired to race like that since (rarely succeeding thanks to adhd driven impulsiveness) but it was so clinical and enjoyable to watch him constantly positioning himself in the right place the whole way through that day. Things go from bad to worse, while outwardly their bid to make him a GC contender didn’t work, Martin reveals he was close to breaking his contract and ending his career.

Written with his long-time friend and best-selling author Pierre Carrey, this is the story of a rider who never sought to conform to modern cycling's norms and someone who, in many ways, embodies an age in cycling which has long since disappeared. Dan is unashamed when it comes to exposing these dark feelings, his weaknesses and how he tried to deal with them, his attitude exemplifying Mark Twain’s quote: ‘Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear, not absence of fear’. That Tour of 2003, it’s one of the swipe-left Tours, won by Lance Armstrong and best remembered today for Jésus Manzano leaving it in an ambulance, electrodes attached to his chest. He was the guy launching reckless attacks that didn’t amount to a whole hill of beans but looked good.

On one level, Dan Martin’s chamois memoir (chamoir) Chased by Pandas – ghosted by Carrey – is that article stretched out to book length.To reprise an old theme Dan Martin’s win in the 2013 edition of Liège-Bastogne-Liège was huge for him and his team. There are of course more constructive ways use one’s time than to read road cyclists’ autobiographies, but I dare say – even before I’ve read the book myself – that STS would be positively surprised if he bought (or loaned) the book and wasted a couple of hours of his time by reading it!

No missing or damaged pages, no tears, possible very minimal creasing, no underlining or highlighting of text, and no writing in the margins.

Instead each chapter explores a particular fear, whether crashing, injury or the burden of leadership and through this the arc of Dan Martin’s cycling career is covered. Known, thanks to his racing style and attitude, for being one of road cycling's last romantics, Dan has always shied away from revealing too much about himself and his story.

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