'I have success, money, women. I've been lionised by the public and the media. The world is at my feet. I've spread my wings and here I am, soaring above everything and everyone. But in reality, the descent has already begun.'
Thomas Dekker was set to become one of pro cycling's superstars. But before long, he found himself sucked in by the lure of hedonistic highs and troubled by the intense pressure to perform.
In The Descent, Dekker tells his story of hotel room blood bags, shady rendezvous with drug dealers and late-night partying at the Tour de France. This is Dekker's journey from youthful idealism to a sordid path of excess and doping that lays bare cycling's darkest secrets like never before.
Thomas Dekker is a Dutch former professional cyclist. As one of the biggest talents in the sport, he catapulted to the top, participating in the Olympics and the Tour de France. His career highlights include winning Tirreno-Adriatico in 2006 and Tour de Romandie in 2007. Yet it all came crashing down when he was caught doping while with the Rabobank team. Dekker was suspended for two years and returned to racing in the summer of 2011 but never got back to his old level. Thijs Zonneveld was a professional cyclist before he became a journalist and writer. He covers cycling for the biggest newspaper in Holland and works as an analyst for Dutch public television. He received the award for the best Dutch sports journalist in 2016 for The Descent.