Matt Rendell survived Hodgkin's Disease and lecturing at British and Latvian universities before entering TV and print journalism. His first book Kings of the Mountains: How Colombia's Cycling Heroes Changed their Nation's History (Aurum Press 2002) was described in The Times as 'meticulous, elegant and sensitive.' His Channel 4 documentary about sport in Colombia and Ecuador, also called Kings of the Mountains, was described in The Observer as 'a gem, telling us more about the essence of sport in under an hour than a season's worth of Premiership matches.' He has written for the BBC, ITV and Channel 4, including British coverage of the Tour de France, and he edited The Tour de France Centennial 1903-2003 (Weidenfeld and Nicolson 2003). The National Sporting Club named Matt Rendell 'Best New Sports Writer 2003.'
Shortlisted for the William Hill Sports Book of the Year Award 2006. Marco 'little pirate' Pantani confirmed his place as one of the greatest cyclists ever to ride when, weighing only 53kg, he won both the Giro d'Italia and Tour De France in the 1998 season. In contrast to those celebrations on the Champs-Ã‰lysÃ©es, the Pantani story ends in tragedy when, six years later, Marco was found dead in a Rimini hotel room from a cocaine overdose in suspicious circumstances. In 'The Death of Marco Pantani' Matt Rendell recounts the incredible climbs, career threatening crashes, the public fallout with Lance Armstrong, drug scandals and conspiracy theories surrounding Pantani's career obtaining exclusive interviews with medial staff, officials, lawyers and people close to Marco to shed new light on the most colourful character in the peloton.
The intimate biography of the charismatic Tour de France winner Marco Pantani, now updated to include the 2014 and 2015 investigation into Pantani's death. National Sporting Club Book of the Year Shortlisted for the William Hill Sports Book of the Year Award 'An exhaustively detailed and beautiful book . . . a fitting, ambivalent tribute - to the man, and to the dark heart of the sport he loved' Independent On Valentine's day 2004, Marco Pantani was found dead in a cheap hotel. It defied belief: Pantani, having won the rare double of the Giro d'Italia and the Tour de France in 1998, was regarded as the only cyclist capable of challenging Lance Armstrong's dominance. Only later did it emerge that Pantani had been addicted to cocaine since 1999. Drawing on his personal encounters with Pantani, as well as exclusive access to his psychoanalysts, and interviews with his family and friends, Matt Rendell has produced the definitive account of an iconic sporting figure.
Restlessly vital and possessed of great physical strength, Jose Beyaert lived many lives. During the Second World War, he boxed and trafficked arms for the Resistance on his bicycle. After it, he became an international cyclist. In 1948, a mile from the end of the Olympic road race around Windsor Park, he broke away alone to take the gold medal and started an adventure that would last the rest of his life. A Tour de France rider in the sport's golden age, Jose was invited to open a new velodrome in Colombia, South America. He travelled, intending to stay a month. Instead, driven by his thirst for adventure, he stayed for fifty years, becoming by turns athlete, coach, businessman, emerald-trader, logger, smuggler, perhaps even hired killer. Matt Rendell, who knew Jose Beyaert and met many of his family, friends and associates, tells the fascinating story of an almost-forgotten sporting hero who, incapable of living by other people's rules, lived his many lives on his own terms.