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Meet Mark Johnson and Jonathan Vaughters at Maria’s Bookshop in Durango before the USA Pro Cycling Challenge

Mark Johnson and Jonathan Vaughters will be at Maria’s Bookshop in Durango, Colorado before the USA Pro Cycling Challenge.

Johnson and team founder Vaughters will speak and sign copies at 11 a.m. Sunday at Maria’s Bookshop, 960 Main Ave. For more information, call 970-247-1438 or visit www.mariasbookshop.com.

“It is a mark of a well-done book when a reader opens the pages and, despite a lack of previous interest and knowledge, is drawn into the fascinating world of pro cycling. Mark Johnson pulled this feat off through intimate, detailed photography and up-close and personal portrayals of the members of Team Garmin-Cervélo.” — Durango Herald

Argyle Armada Durango Herald

Mark Johnson’s VeloNews Op-Ed: Cycling Needs a Riders Union

In this op-ed for VeloNews.com, Argyle Armada author Mark Johnson offers reasons that the sport and business of cycling would benefit from a union of riders. Johnson’s thinking on this topic came in part from his interactions with Garmin-Sharp team director Jonathan Vaughters, who has long advocated for fundamental changes in the structure of the sport.

Johnson’s op-ed comes on the heels of Vaughters’ admission last week in this article for the New York Times that he doped during his pro cycling career. In the article, Vaughters says that his team has worked to eliminate the choice of doping for its riders.

Johnson’s op-ed addresses doping. How would a pro cyclists union affect doping in the sport?

Johnson’s article is a thought-provoking, independent look from the only journalist to have spent a season within the team that began cycling’s most recent anti-doping crusade. Click below to read more.

Argyle Armada Marvin Miller cyclists union VeloNews

Will Tyler Farrar Beat Cav? He’s Done It Before.

From Chapter 5 of Argyle Armada:

“The day after the time trial win, Navardauskas and Zabriskie keep five breakaway riders within reach for much of the flat 123-mile stage from the seaside village of Olonne-Sur-Mer to Redon. The field captures the breakaway 6 miles from the finish. On the run-in it looks like another Mark Cavendish win is in the offing. But then, with less than 1 kilometer to go, Millar keeps Hushovd protected through a right-hand turn, then the yellow jersey barrels past a stunned Cavendish with Dean and Farrar in tow. Dean takes over from Hushovd and drops off Farrar 250 meters from the finish in Redon.

Farrar wins the team’s second stage in two days. The manner in which Hushovd made it happen is unprecedented. This is the first time a rider wearing both the rainbow stripes of the road world champion and the yellow jersey has led out a teammate for a win in the last 500 meters of a Tour stage. At the finish, Farrar and his two lead-out men reenact the historic moment through a time-delayed doppelgänger; while Farrar coasts past the finish line in real-time, hands held aloft in the shape of a W, on a JumboTron behind them and on TVs around the planet, a time-delayed Farrar is still sprinting, hands on his bars, elbows out with escorts Dean and Hushovd peeling off to his right.

After the stage, Farrar says he won it for Weylandt. The sprinter from the state of Washington is the first American to win a Tour stage on July 4, his country’s Independence Day. As of today the 27-year-old is also the second American to have won stages at all three grand tours—Dave Zabriskie being the first.

At the finish, Millar scrambles through a frenzy of journalists to Farrar. With a Colombian radio reporter providing a live account in machine-gun Spanish to listeners back home, Millar plants a kiss on Farrar’s cheek. Vande Velde hugs Farrar and tells him it’s a great way to celebrate the Fourth. New Zealander Dean is usually emotionless after races, a countenance of blank concentration. Today, however, a smile shows through road grime that covers his face in the patterns of a Maori tattoo.

The marketing return on Farrar’s win rains down within hours. U.S. Senator John Kerry e-mails Vaughters his congratulations. Articles headlining Garmin-Cervélo pop up on media sites around the world. Forbes, CBS, ESPN, The Washington Post, The Guardian: the world’s press is smitten with the story of an American winning on July 4, an American who suffered tragedy months earlier with the loss of his dear friend. The next day’s L’Équipe headline reads, in English, “Farrar’s Day” with a fullpage photo of Farrar with his hands forming a W.”

Go inside the pro peloton with Argyle Armada, available from your local bookstore or bike shop or from these retailers:Argyle Armada book cover

You’ve Won the Stage, Now What?

What happens after you’ve won a stage of the Tour de France? Here’s embedded writer-photographer Mark Johnson’s look at Thor Hushovd’s exit from the course after winning Stage 13 of the Tour.

From Chapter 5 of Argyle Armada

Long after all the team buses have left, Hushovd makes his way through a crowd of fans to a waiting team car. With the assistance of a Tour de France bouncer, he slips into the front seat, where he takes a moment to sign an autograph book for a boy in a polka dot climber’s jersey. A plastic container of food with “Thor” written on the lid waits in the backseat.

Team director Marie gets into the driver’s seat, and Marya Pongrace sits in the back, though she has a hard time shutting the door because as she gets in, a fan sticks his video camera through the door and won’t pull it out. When police finally pry the videographer off the vehicle, Marie starts the engine and the crowd parts.

Argyle Armada Inside the team car after Thor wins Stage 13

Get behind the scenes with Argyle Armada, your all-access pass to the sport, lifestyle, and business of professional cycling. Argyle Armada is available from your local bookstore or bike shop or from these retailers:Argyle Armada book cover

Behind the Scenes at the Tour de France: A Snarl of Team Cars, A Forest of Bikes, the Tour de France Support Staging Area

Before a stage of the Tour, the team cars assemble in a staging area before departing onto the race course behind the riders.

Argyle Armada Tour de France support staging area

Argyle Armada Mark Johnson TDF staging area

Click to enlarge. Try it! Can you find Vaughters?

Argyle Armada is a behind-the-scenes look at the world of professional cycling, from training camps to service course, sponsorship negotiations to the team bus.

Go inside the pro peloton with Argyle Armada, available from your local bookstore or bike shop or from these retailers:Argyle Armada book cover