Product Overview

Overall rating:

Score 8


  • Not much


  • Not much


Domestique – Charly Wegelius autobiography


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“Welcome to the true life of a tour cyclist,” reads the blurb of Domestique, the interesting and revealing autobiography by former Mapei, Liquigas and Lotto rider and current Garmin DS Charly Wegelius.

We’re more accustomed to reading the life stories of the sport’s winners and big-name riders, yet the winlessness of Wegelius’s professional career is this 300-page book’s USP.

He recalls being told just seven days before the 2002 Vuelta how he was going to ride his first Grand Tour, despite being injured from a crash. Then there’s the difficulty in finding teams (“If Mapei had been DHL, De Nardi was the Post Office,” he writes about dropping down a division after the former team folded), incompetent managers and the difficulty of dealing with team leaders (Cadel Evans is singled out as particularly difficult).

Often funny and at times brutally honest, the book charts Wegelius’s career from an enthusiastic youngster who was one of cycling’s hot properties to the man whose obsessive-compulsive behaviour meant he travelled to races with duct tape to ensure he could remove any trace of light from ?hotel rooms.


The book arguably gives you the most accurate description of what being a highly-regarded domestique in the modern peloton is really like. And, as its working title suggested, "It's not a f***ing fairytale."


  • Clifford

    I agree with Ian Franklin, above. A very interesting read, although his 27 pages of rambling self-justification for his behaviour at the 2005 World’s was just pathetic. But why is it necessary to use the word f*ck on almost every other page? It may be how he talks down in the pub, but I don’t think he’d talk like that in a TV interview. So why in print? More importantly, why did the publishers allow this? It’s juvenile behaviour worthy only of Bradley Wiggins (who used the same word 7 times (and sh*t 4 times) in a single interview recently in ProCycling magazine). Grow up guys!

  • ian franklin

    A great read and a great insight. I always loved this rider, he had style and class. But I must agree with the reviewer above: Too many expletives. Tell me why do we have to have expletives to make a point. This part of it really lets the whole project down and I am so sorry that the editors did not have the intelligence or wit to rephrase. I wish Charlie well for the future and his new career with Garmin. Hey! Charlie was clean rider and that’s another point in his favour.

  • TOM

    I enjoyed this read.The insight into what a domestique has to endure was fascinating as were the cameos of people like Di Luca and Cadel Evans. He clearly admits that with hindsight he was wrong about his decision to help the Italians at the worlds but he clearly wasn’t going to do anything to damage team GB so alls well.My only criticism of the book is that it paints a picture of a rather introspective egotistical individual who is all too willing to examine his navel.It should have been edited better to cut out a lot of the repeat self pity episodes.

  • Sam

    Howard: he did ride for GB – and then in 05 Worlds sold the team inc the designated team leader, Roger Hammond, down the river. His big mistake was not being smart enought to notice the winds of change of serious intent sweeping through BC led by Brailsford. Not surprised neither he nor Southam never got picked for GB again.

  • Ricky

    Great book. Finished it the other day on my Kindle and couldn’t put it down. An alternative take to cycling in the big time, no doubt about that, and particularly liked it because it wasn’t all about the drugs. Been reading too many of those books lately to the point of tedium so this one about cycling was very refreshing. Would recommend.

  • Dave Morrison

    I didn’t think that this was particularly well crafted, over use of expletives seemed to be for effect and detracted from the story and not a very long book BUT I COULDN’T PUT IT DOWN. Despite its shortcomings this is well worth reading and I would recommend it.

  • Ken Evans

    Do you ride for money, or do you ride for pride ? Its a personal decision. BC have done amazing things, you can’t argue with their results.

  • Howard Wheatcroft

    Great read, warts and all by a vastly underrated rider, who should have ridden in the GB team.A true professional, who in my opinion was badly treated by BC. All the best to him in the future.