How the Race Was Won

Cycling's Top Minds Reveal the Road to Victory

By Peter Cossins


It all comes down to the head and the legs. Cossins explores the full scope of cycling strategy and tactics.

In stock


In stock and shipping now from

Great cyclists are born, but winning cyclists are made by the brains of their managers. The craft of racing requires a non-stop obsession with detail: watching rivals, judging the strength of a break, knowing the course, and picking the right moment to seize a fleeting opportunity and turn it into a big win.

How the Race Was Won investigates the fine details of bicycle racing through extensive interviews with the sport’s brightest minds. Author Peter Cossins has interrogated the riders, managers, and directors who have shaped the sport, and reveals how they learned to navigate the invisible undercurrent that sweeps their riders to the finish line.

From the moment when George Pilkington Mills was paced to victory by a wily teammate in the 1891 edition of Bordeaux–Paris to Chris Froome’s modern emphasis on marginal gains, How the Race Was Won embraces the full sweep of cycling history, making stops along the way to analyze how tactics first evolved and how today’s winning minds continue to build on what came before.

Behind every great cyclist is a race wizard reading the race, watching the rivals, outwitting the competition, and anticipating the one perfect moment to launch a rider to victory. How the Race Was Won is a thrilling and unprecedented look at how victory is won, how rivals are vanquished, and how pure speed can only prevail when supported by deep brainpower.

How the Race Was Won: Cycling’s Top Minds Reveal the Road to Victory
Peter Cossins
6″ x 9″, 256 pp., $18.95, 9781937715861

How the Race Was Won: Cycling's Top Minds Reveal the Road to Victory

Peter Cossins

Paperback Black and white interior

Shipping Dimensions: 6in x 9in x .75in 256pp $18.95, Inventory 9781937715861, Shipping 1lbs


1 What Are Tactics?

2 The Development of Tactics

3 The Making of Modern Tactics

4 Inside the Washing Machine—Riding in the Peloton 5 Dirty Dealing

6 How to Race in the Wind

7 How to Lead Out and Win a Sprint

8 From Control to Chaos—Sprinting’s New Order

9 How to Bluff Your Rivals

10 Surviving with the Laughing Group—Life in the Gruppetto

11 How to Win in the Mountains

12 Is Technology Killing Tactics?

13 Going Downhill Fast

14 How to Win a Time Trial

15 The Art of the Breakaway

16 How to Win a Classic

17 Conducting the Chaos—Directeurs Sportifs and Road Captains 18 A Tactical Showcase—The Rise of Women’s Cycling

19 Simple, but Extremely Complex



About the Author

Shortlisted for the Telegraph 2019 Cycling Book of the Year