Wednesday, May 22, 2024

“Argyle Armada” by Mark Johnson


HomeOtherBook Reviews"Argyle Armada" by Mark Johnson

“Argyle Armada” by Mark Johnson takes readers on a seasonal journey into the world of professional cycling, focusing on a season in the life of the Garmin-Cervélo team led by Jonathan Vaughters.

The book offers a fascinating blend of captivating storytelling, really nice photography, and an exploration of the team’s fight against doping, its difficult decisions, and quite a few personal dramas as it takes the reader from the winter training camp, through the Spring and Ardennes Classics and Tour de France, the USA Pro Challenge, La Vuelta, over the Atlantic to race in Québec and Montréal.

Argyle Armada
Photo©Martin Williamson

One standout aspect of the book is the photography; Johnson’s collaboration with world-class photographers brings the unusual, present-tense narrative to life through breathtaking visuals. The carefully curated images capture the essence of the team, showcasing the raw emotions, intense competition, and beautiful landscapes that professional cycling encompasses.

The book also delves into Jonathan Vaughters’ relentless battle against the organisational qualities of professional cycling, describing his vision of a better organised sport where he proposes that the the top 12 or 15 teams are required to appear in the same events, and that the calendar leads to an overall prize at the end of the season.

Johnson presents a candid and honest portrayal of Vaughters’ unwavering commitment to clean cycling, even in the face of numerous challenges and controversies. Readers gain insight into the difficult decisions Vaughters had to make, the risks he took, and the personal sacrifices he endured to maintain his team’s integrity.

Argyle Armada
Argyle Armada. Photo©Martin Williamson

“Argyle Armada” navigates the complexities of pro cycling, shedding light on the countless difficult decisions that teams like Garmin-Cervélo face. Johnson dives into the strategic choices, tactical planning, and the delicate balance between team dynamics and individual ambitions.

Through compelling storytelling, readers gain a deeper understanding of the multifaceted nature of professional cycling and the high-stakes decisions that shape a team’s success.

In addition to the sport’s challenges, this coffee- table book also explores the personal dramas that unfold within the Garmin-Cervélo team. Johnson delves into the personal lives of the riders and staff, ookshhighlighting the joys, struggles, and triumphs they experience both on and off the bike.

This human element adds depth to the narrative, allowing readers to connect with the individuals behind the team and empathise with their personal journeys.

Argyle Armada
Argyle Armada. Photo©Martin Williamson

Overall, “Argyle Armada” is a captivating and visually stunning account of the Garmin-Cervélo team’s fight against doping, difficult decisions, and personal dramas.

Mark Johnson’s closeness to the team, his skillful storytelling and collaboration with talented photographers create a reading experience that brings the world of professional cycling to life.

Fans of this particular team, or just of the sport, as well as those interested in the human stories behind the team, will find this book both informative and engaging, offering a unique perspective on the challenges and triumphs of Garmin-Cervélo as they struggle to win in the world of pro cycling.