Published on 1st July 2019 | By Jake Causier

Pre-register for your copy of the latest book from bestselling author William Fotheringham

£1 from each book copy sold will be donated to the Dave Rayner Fund

The Greatest - The Times and Life of Beryl Burton
Credit: Cycling Weekly archive/AP wire photo

A prolific world and national champion on road and track, whose career lasted more than 25 years, Burton dominated women’s racing in the UK during the 1960s and 1970s, taking almost 100 national titles. She not only spoke out for equality in cycle racing but also challenged stereotypes by the way she rode: she competed on equal terms with men, and managed an unheard-of feat in setting an absolute British record for distance covered over 12 hours in 1967. Burton died in 1996 but remains a household name in British cycling and in her native Yorkshire, and is the subject of an acclaimed play by actor Maxine Peake.

Published to coincide with the world championships in Yorkshire, this new biography by Sunday Times no. 1 best-selling author William Fotheringham sets out to tell Burton’s story in detail for the first time, exploring the people and places behind the legend.

£1 per copy sold will be donated to the Dave Rayner Fund.

William Fotheringham says:

“The Beryl Burton story taps into so many of my cycling interests. Most important is the theme of greatness in sport, with all its complexities, which is something I’ve explored in most of my books. It’s a story of British cycling, which I love in its various meanderings and in the way it melds into the social history of our country. I’ve always been aware of the barriers women have faced in this sport, which was what drew me to help Lizzie Deignan (née Armitstead) with her autobiography. Then there’s Yorkshire, where I learned to ride a bike, and time trialing, something I have done a lot of – like so many cyclists – but have always been completely rubbish at.”

Praise for William Fotheringham’s previous biographies:

  • Tom Simpson – Put me Back on my Bike
  • ‘a modern classic of cycling literature’ – Richard Williams, Guardian
  • Fausto Coppi – Fallen Angel
  • ‘The quality of the testimony and the sources used by Fotheringham are of a remarkable breadth and depth. An excellent book.’ – BBC Sport
  • Eddy Merckx – Half Man, Half Bike
  • ‘A fascinating, often bleak portrait of a remarkable athlete and an unnerving man’ – Brian Schofield, Sunday Times.

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