The Medal Factory


In the 1990s, British cycling teams were on a par with the nation’s bobsled effort. Cycling was a continental sport, and the UK organisation was a shambolic affair run by a handful of eccentrics. However, by 2008, Team GB – boosted by massive lottery funding and a driven by a hungry new generation of leaders – began to dominate the sport, winning eight out of ten gold medals on the track at the Beijing Olympics. Soon, Team Sky, a British road racing squad with roots in that Olympic programme, would dominate the Tour de France. But now – in 2020 – disaster looms. Allegations of sexism, bullying and complicity with drug taking threatens British Cycling, the governing body. Was the success down to like-minded visionaries who got lucky with funding? Kenny Pryde investigates the chequered recent history of professional cycling in the UK.

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55 Olympic medals. 6 Tour de France victories. Countless world records and world championship victories. Since the year 2000, British Cycling, Team Sky and INEOS have dominated the sport of cycling to an unprecedented degree. But at what cost? Did Sir David Brailsford, Peter Keen and the other brains behind British Cycling’s massive and sudden dominance in the modern era find a winning “Moneyball” formula? Or did their success come down to luck and personal chemistry? Did this organisation, founded on relentless, ruthless efficiency contain contradictions which threatened to overwhelm it, amid accusations of drug-taking, bullying and sexism? The Medal Factory tells the full story from amateurish beginnings through a sports-science revolution to an all-conquering, yet flawed, machine. Through interviews with Brailsford and Keen, Shane Sutton, Fran Millar, Chris Boardman, Sir Chris Hoy and many other key players, Kenny Pryde interrogates the parts of the story – lottery funding, marginal gains – that we think we know, and reveals others that have remained hidden, until now.

Additional information

Weight 260 g
Dimensions 19.6 × 12.8 × 2.4 cm










796.620941 (edition:23)


General – Trade / Code: K


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