Tino Tabak

Dreams & Demons of a New Zealand Cycling Legend

“You become a professional because you're a good bike rider, of course, but it's got nothing to do with pushing that bike. It becomes a business. If you're contracted to win, you've got to win. It doesn't matter how you do it. But if you get contracted to help, then listen mate, you just help. Don't you dare win!”
Tino Tabak was one of New Zealand's brightest sporting stars when he set out to prove himself in that toughest of arenas, European road cycling. This tell-all account sets the scene for New Zealand cycle racing in the 1960s and lifts the lid on the world of professional cycling, race-fixing and performance-enhancing drugs of the late '60s early '70s.


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Now also available in a Kindle edition.

“Some people have already made up their minds about me. They say Tino did this or Tino did that. If you’re one of them, you might as well close this book right now, ‘cause you’ve already closed your mind. Just put it back down on the shelf and walk away. I’ve got no time for you.

But if you really want to know what the business of pro cycling was like in the 1970s, I can tell you. Because I’ve been through it all – from being a star of the road at the top to a pile of broken dreams at the bottom. Europe’s greatest sport can do that to you.

I’ve lapped it out with The Cannibal in the Tour de France, and I’ve struggled just for the dubious Red Lantern. I’ve beaten Holland’s best to claim their road championship title, and I’ve risked everything to win a classic, almost following Tommy Simpson’s fate. It was madness. I can say that now.”

Tino Tabak, 2007


  1. Nathan Burdon, Southland Times

    “I’ve rarely read a sports biography as frank and as honest as this one. This story blows most of the rugby and cricket biographies I’ve struggled through out of the water.”

  2. Ron Palenski

    “Dreams and Demons is a fascinating book that fills in the gaps on a gifted cyclist who took on the high roads of Europe, tasted success, and plumbed the deepest lows.”

  3. Alan Messenger, Sports Reporter

    “I thoroughly enjoyed it. It is a really good, well balanced and well presented story.”

  4. Trevor Mallard

    “Jonathan Kennett writes really well and the subject is fascinating. Couldn’t put it down… Really good read”

  5. Nick Jeffrey, Chief Executive, Cycling Southland

    “Congratulations on the great read…. Like the man himself in his cycling days … he certainly wasn’t afraid to go on the attack and speak his mind.”


    “Tabak is a candid subject, talking openly about the hardships of racing, the drug use within the professional peleton of the 1970s, and his own self-destructive drive to win. Kennett has captured it superbly, making for a good brisk read about what it’s like riding on the verge of brilliance – but not quite. Highly recommended.”

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