a novel by Ross E. Goldstein
Three years ago, rising cycling star Cal Scott abruptly quit the T Mobile team and returned home to California, determined to abandon cycling forever. At least that was his intention. Now Cal’s father has an offer for him: Come to Italy, bring your bike, do some recreational cycling, watch a race, no strings attached.
But Cal suspects that nothing from his bulldog-defense-attorney father comes without strings; after all, the trip coincides with Bassano del Grappa’s torturous race up the ferocious slopes of Monte Grappa. A win could mean re-entry into the pro cycling echelon, and on a personal level, heal the painful memories that preceded his decision to abandon a cycling career at the brink of success. In Bassano del Grappa, when his father introduces Cal to his old friend Gianni Di Salvo, former Giro d’Italia winner and famed cycling coach, Cal is proven right. Di Salvo offers all the support and coaching Cal needs to win the race, if Cal can get his head and heart “right” with competing again.
Di Salvo’s Squadra Diavolo team is full of brutally competitive local riders, and Cal’s fire for good fight still burns hot—as does his flame for Di Salvo’s beautiful ciclista daughter, Daniella. Pressured by rumors and coaxed by Daniella’s friendship, Cal undertakes a quest to purge himself of the past, fall in love, and win the race. On the journey, he just might learn that beyond the cutthroat side of pro cycling is the essence of the sport: being pushed beyond one’s limit to achieve the impossible.