The Road Book has put weight back on for the Fourth Edition reflecting a cycling calendar that has bounced back from an eviscerated 2020.
At last we get to review the 2021 edition of The Road Book, the definitive record of the major races of 2021 UCI Road Cycling calendar, following a COVID hit end of year of our own.
The Road book has entered its fourth year. It has put on a good deal of weight and girth over the 2020 edition after COVID regulations put road cycling on a harsh diet. 2021 by comparison is a veritable Jan Ullrich after the off-season of a book this year though it does still show signs of how cycling continued to be impacted by COVID regulations.
Few sports enjoy an almanac as comprehensive as The Road Book, the nearest equivalent is the 158 year old Wisden Cricketers’ Almanac, a breeze block of a book with 1500 pages. The Road Book 2021 might have a more ‘conservative’ 800 odd pages but it is jam-packed with detail, carefully edited by Ned Boulting a cycling journalist and TV presenter with an encyclopaedic knowledge of cycling.
In a world that is increasingly online having a cycling resource in the form of an actual hard copy book is a real pleasure. No doubt some will preserve this book in pristine condition but others will cover it with post-it notes and annotations.
The book which focuses primarily on the UCI World Tour and Pro Road season, and does so in rich statistical detail, also includes a section on the Men s and Women’s Olympic road races, The British domestic scene, National Titles and even the Cyclo Cross World Cup. Races are grouped by month. The impact of COVID regulations is illustrated perfectly by January, comprising a solitary race, the 1.1 GP Cycliste de Marseillaise on January 31. Absent are the major Australian season openers. Thereafter though the season almost looks normal.
The section for each race has at least the top-20 results while those for bigger races include a re-cap of the major events with daily results and re-cap of each stage for the major tours.
There is much more to the Almanac than tables of results though with the compilers slipping in articles by winners of a Road Book Rider of the Year Awards, along with little Easter Eggs throughout the book. Some are very quirky such as the charts tracking the Dominant Kit Colours on page 73.
A very useful and large section in the latter half covers the Men’s and Women’s World Tour and Pro Continental Teams.
It’s not all stats though. The mid-section comprises a selection of great race pictures of the greats in action.
In summary The Road Book is an invaluable record of each unique season, enjoyable and accessible, though reading glasses are vital for those of a certain age. It is hard to imagine not having it, especially given the strange times we are enduring. Vive Cyclisme, Vive la Road Book.
Buy it here: https://www.theroadbook.co.uk/shop/ priced £50