21 Days to Glory is Team Sky’s official account of Bradley Wiggins’ victory in the 2012 Tour de France; written by noted journalist and author Sarah Edworthy, with pictures by Scott Mitchell. As Napoleon apparently said, history is written by the winners, which I guess makes this the true story of the 2012 Tour.
The book follows the race from the Liège, Belgium, prologue, all the way to the final stage on the Champs-Élysées in Paris, with the two rest days in between. Yes, that does add up to 23 days, but that has far less of a ring to it...
Each day explains the events of the stage, with reactions from riders and management, from the agony of the opening week’s crashes - and the loss of Kanstantsin Siutsou on stage three - to the ecstasy of Wiggins’ final overall victory.
Since this is the official story behind Wiggo’s Tour victory, however, what you get is the official story; what you don’t get are the juicy details about Chris Froome wanting - or not wanting - to ride for himself in the mountains, or exactly how “disappointed” World champion Mark Cavendish was with having to fend for himself for much of the race.
What you do get though, are tons of fantastic, behind the scenes pictures from the team’s official photographer Mitchell. There are very few pictures of the actual race - you can get these anywhere - but the book includes countless off the bike shots of the Team Sky riders and staff; in the team bus, in hotels, and in between.
The book is well written, but the detail and lack of real gossip involved makes it a good read for the non-enthusiast that it’s doubtlessly aimed at. Where this book really performs over the scores of other post-Wiggins-victory fare though is in those Mitchell pictures, which include shots of a furious post-crash Cavendish on the team bus in Rouen, Bernhard Eisel having his eyebrow stitched after the same incident, and countless quiet, private moments with Wiggins and the rest of the team.
21 Days to Glory is something of a must-have for any Team Sky or Wiggins fan; not so much for the text - although, again, it is well written - but more for the pictures that you can’t see anywhere else.
The RRP of the book is £25 in the UK, and $34.99 in the USA, but most official outlets have it for as low as half that.