SweetSpot have launched their search for the Cycling Book of the Year, in a new annual prize to be awarded by The Tour of Britain organisers.

12 cycling books from the past year have been shortlisted by top cycling writer Brendan Gallagher and SweetSpot, and we want you to vote on which title you think should win the inaugural award.

You can find out how to vote here, and as an incentive to take part we will be giving one lucky voter a copy of each of the shortlisted titles, plus three runners up a copy of the winning title.

And for the winning author, not only will there be the all-important trophy that we hope to become an important and recognised annual award in years to come, but also a highly sought after Festina watch among other prizes.

Here Brendan Gallagher explains more about the award, and outlines the shortlist of 12 titles you can vote on.

CYCLING’S literary canon undoubtedly ranks with any in the sporting canon, in my opinion sharing equal billing with Cricket amongst main stream organised sport while also combining many of the elements that make mountaineering and sailing books such compulsive reads.

Invariably there are big central characters involved, often seriously flawed and damaged in one way or other while glory pain and cavalry moments are almost a given. The elements and topography often play a large role while an extra fascination is derived by the fact that many readers will have often ridden over the same routes mentioned, albeit at lesser speed and intensity although the suffering will be the same.

Supporting the star turns you invariably find a myriad of colourful characters who often provide the humour and intrigue. Mix all that in with some of the most dedicated and ruthlessly ambitions athletes known to man and admirably selfless teamwork played out alongside rampant individualism and cycling literature is onto a sure fire winner. Then combine that with the extraordinary access that the sport still provides to wordsmiths and the result is a heady brew, virtually on tap, of fascinating and revelatory stories along with the opportunity to indulge in world class reportage

That has always been the case in cycling – in truth the ‘golden era’ of cycling literature stretches back 50 years or more – and that standard shows absolutely no signs of dipping. On the contrary the last decade has been quite exceptional.

SweetSpot wants to acknowledge the contribution of cycling’s authors and the publishers who support the sport by inaugurating an annual Cycling Book of the Year award, voted for by you online, from a short-list of 12 cycling books published in 2013.

Preparing that short-list has been a challenge in itself and apologies in advance if your favourite didn’t make the ‘Designated Dozen’ – and feel free to write in praising your particular choice

The 2013 short list shown below represents the full range of the genre from rider autobiographies – ghosted or otherwise – reportage on great rivalries or achievements, career anthologies, quirky and humours looks at the sport and a couple of sumptuous coffee table productions supported by suitably fine words.

2013 SweetSpot Cycling Book of the Year shortlist

  • On the Road Bike: The Search For a Nation’s Cycling Soul. Ned Boulting. Yellow Jersey.
  • Racing Hard, 20 Tumultuous Years in Cycling. William Fotheringham. Faber and Faber.
  • Cycling Anthology II, Tour de France centenary edition. Lionel Birnie and Ellis Bacon. Peloton Publishing.
  • Easy Rider: My Life on a Bike. Rob Hayles. Bantam Press.
  • Domestique. The True life Ups and Downs of a Tour Pro. Charlie Wegelius. Ebury Press.
  • Hunger. Sean Kelly. Peloton Publishing.
  • Mountain Higher: Europe’s Extreme, Undiscovered and Unforgettable Cycling Climbs. Daniel Friebe and Pete Goding. Quercus.
  • Sean Yates: It’s All About the Bike. Sean Yates. Bantam Press.
  • The Race Against Time: Obree, Boardman and the Quest to be the Fastest Man on Two Wheels. Edward Pickering. Bantam Press.
  • Project Rainbow: How British Cycling Reached the Top of the World. Rod Ellingworth. Faber and Faber.
  • Mapping Le Tour de France. Ellis Bacon. Collins.
  • Land of Second Chances: The Impossible Rise of Rwanda’s Cycling Team. Tim Lewis. Yellow Jersey.

To vote on the SweetSpot Cycling Book of the Year Award, please click here where you can also find short summaries of each book, written by Brendan Gallagher.

And don’t forget, if you want to discuss the Award and who you think should win on Twitter, use the hashtag #cyclingbook or join in the discussion on The Tour of Britain Facebook page.