Sport & Publicity

'A Peiper’s Tale' by Allan Peiper with Chris Sidwells
175pp plus 8 b/w and 4 colour plates.
Foreword by Sean Yates
ISBN 1-874739-39-0
Price: £12.95  Postage Free

Foreword by Sean Yates

I was out running with Allan during the Tour of Romandie this year and, chatting away as we were, I reminded him about the time, long ago, when he sat with his bare feet in a bowl of hot water ten minutes before he was due to ride the prologue of the Tour of the Med. Laugh not – he won! He told me that that was the sort of stuff I should put in the foreword I was writing for his book.

We first got to know each other in 1983 when he joined the Peugeot team, which I was then a member of. Straight away he struck me as a man who knew exactly what he wanted, and that came as a real shock to me, because at that time I was just cruising along, not really knowing were I was going. His thoughts and ideas gave me a kick up the backside. Many of them I still have firmly embedded in my mind to this day – like the almond milk he got me drinking, and liking. ‘Very good for you,’ he said. Get a ton of almonds, drop them in boiling water for thirty seconds, peel them, grind them with a coffee grinder, tip into a blender, add a liberal dose of honey, top up with water and blend. Hey presto, almond milk. And absolutely delicious. Also about a million calories, which he forgot to tell me about; hence the Mister Blobby look-alike who used to go riding around in Peugeot kit.

But it wasn’t just his concern that a racing cyclist needed to eat properly: I also got a taste of his discipline and dedication when I stayed with him in Belgium. His bike was always immaculately clean and his clothes perfectly folded. Training was at nine o’clock sharp, come rain or sunshine, and the tempo was always high. Once back we had a shower in a bathroom which had a little electric heater, and the water used to literally dribble out. There was no heating in the bedrooms, so we slept under a pile of about ten blankets, which just about crushed me.

I have so many fond memories of the times we have spent together, since those early years when we were trying to make our way as young pros. All great memories that I will cherish for the rest of my days. Like the mini-Olympics we set up when we were both staying at Surfers Paradise – he couldn’t get over how good I was at tennis. And what was left of the tyres on that V8 Holden we rented. And what about the time I led him out for a time bonus sprint in the ’84 Tour? He had the white jersey of the best young rider on his shoulders after coming third in the prologue and third in the first stage bunch finish – although how he managed that I still can’t figure out. Anyway, he didn’t come off my back wheel, like he should have done, but Jan Raas did. I turned round to Allan and snapped at him, ‘That’s the last bloody time I’m leading you out!’ It was a bit cruel, and I don’t know why he didn’t hit me. The fact is, we complimented each other really well – the Little and Large Show. We lifted each other, especially when it came to time trials. And now, more than twenty years since we first met, we are back together on the continental circuit, trading wins and champagne like in this year’s Giro.

In all the years I’ve known Allan I’ve never ceased to be amazed by the stories he tells of his upbringing. It was a tough one compared to mine, and it definitely shaped him in later life. Hearing those stories again made me – and I am certain many of you who will read his book – realise just how lucky we have been. What I am sure you will also get from A Peiper’s Tale is a sense of the passion and feeling that Allan has for life, and for this sport of cycling.
Sean Yates

‘Allan Peiper was always a little bit different – an excellent rider who could sometimes pull off a remarkable win and an awesome competitor to have riding against you. However Allan’s life was a lot more complicated than it seemed. His difficult childhood, his struggles when he came to Europe and the traumas he went though after he retired are brought to life in this remarkable biography.’
Phil Liggett, MBE – Cycling broadcaster OLN and ITV

‘You won’t read a more revealing, heart searching and poignant book about a professional cyclist than this one.’
Luke Evans – cycling journalist and editor

‘I really enjoyed Allan’s book, it brought back so many memories. In those days we were all warriors and explorers going into the unknown. It did seem at times like hostile territory, but hopefully we made the road a little easier for the guys who followed us.’
Paul Sherwen – Cycling broadcaster OLN and ITV

‘They were called the “Foreign Legion” – that advanced party of English-speaking riders in the early 1980s taking on the Continentals at their own game. It needed dedication and humour to survive, and Allan has both. This book will amuse you, but also provide a unique insight into the life of a pro bike rider.’
David Duffield – British Eurosport

Of all the books I have published or been involved with, A Peiper’s Tale is the one that is closest to my heart. For reasons I can’t really explain I just knew that Allan had a great book to write. Call it luck or, if you are feeling generous, call it publisher’s instinct.

It was though a good friend, Jonathan Spruce, and the fine writer and journalist, Chris Sidwells, that I first learned that Allan was very keen to write a book. In fact, talking to Allan recently, I realised that this had long been an ambition of his. However, at the time, I did not appreciate the depth of his passion, and his need, to write, share his life experiences, and open up his soul to the public. Maybe you could put this down to his egotism, which was a theme he continually dwelt upon throughout the first draft of the book. In reality, quite the opposite seemed to be true: here was a story written by a man of genuine modesty who seemed not to see that it was this very honesty and lack of ego that made his story so compelling, and his book so readable.

When I received the first drafts of the book I was immediately captivated by Allan’s account of his childhood and his early days of racing. It was so different from the cycling books we had published, and I had read before. This was the story of his life, in all its aspects, and his candid style didn’t leave a lot to the imagination. Further into the book, Allan related episodes of friendship, betrayal and jealousy, again without pulling any punches. His take on some of the biggest names in cycle racing during the last three decades was enthralling, and these are some of the most revealing in the book. Similarly, his opinions and shared experiences of doping are tackled not just with his natural frankness, but with a refreshing optimism for the future. And here, as in the rest of the book, he never resorts to sensationalism. It was these qualities which convinced me that A Peiper’s Tale should be published.

We at Sport & Publicity, and our co-publisher Adrian Bell at Mousehold Press, are very proud to be associated with this fine book and would like to thank Allan and, of course, Chris Sidwells for their confidence in us. We hope the reader gets as much enjoyment and satisfaction we have had in helping to produce A Peiper’s Tale.