One-Way Ticket: Nine Lives on Two Wheels

Penguin. Aug. 2019. 352p. ISBN 9780143134145. pap. $17ebk. ISBN 9780525505877. SPORTS
Vaughters writes a brutally honest and mesmerizing memoir about his unconventional rise to becoming U.S. National Time Trial Champion and then to the elite European professional bike racing level during the late 1990s and early 2000s, on the infamous U.S. Postal Service team. Despite showing cycling talent and having the ability to endure pain, Vaughters decided that future victory could only be secured with performance-enhancing drugs (PEDs), or “sports medicine” as it was touted at the time. Vaughters shares his thoughts on the world’s governing body for cycling, the Union Cycliste Internationale, testing for PEDs, as well as team doctors who would administer them to riders. His riding career ended with a shift to managing various continental and “Pro Tour” level teams, which required new skills like securing monetary and equipment support in the form of sponsorships. During the process, he ignited an antidoping movement and the first modern-era cycling team dedicated to drug-free riding. Time will only tell if his efforts will make a difference.
VERDICT Vaughters rode during a bike racing era that can be described as astonishingly wild and potently drug-fueled. His honest take is refreshing and required reading. For all libraries.

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