The Extraordinary History of the Tour de France
Published by HarperCollins.
No sporting event has had its past and present, its highs and lows so intricately entwined with those of a country like the Tour has with France. The Tour de France is the biggest annual sporting event in the world, and at the same time it transcends sport.
The Tour de France comes to the people. It passes their houses, it turns right in their village squares, it thunders through their suburban streets and into the hearts of their towns and cities. It is a unique event in that people don't so much go to see the Tour, as it comes to see them.
A Race for Madmen traces how racing in the Tour de France developed, and how tactics, bike technology, rider preparation and training developed, too. It profiles each of the men who have won the Tour de France, and others who have been key players. Subsidiary competitions, such as the King of the Mountains prize, are featured, as well as Tour lore and traditions.
The book examines the Tour's extraordinary history, and how a bike race, a simple sporting contest, holds up a mirror to the face of a nation. It looks at why the Tour started, why it captured the imagination of a country, then a continent and then the world, while at the same the time it has stayed uniquely French, even though a Frenchman hasn't won it for over 20 years.
This is what some of the reviewers said:-
What the book does very well is to assemble all the old favourite Tour tales - and plenty of less well-known ones - of courage, fortitude, ill-fortune, cheating and sheer mule-headed imbecility in a highly-readable style that neatly weaves numerous relevant threads through the weft of each discrete chapter…..www.roadcyclinguk.com
The story of the Tour is a fascinating read, and whilst it would be hard to make it dull or even only mildly entertaining, A Race for Madmen is a page turner written in easily digestible chunks that are jargon-free and perfect for beginners or those just wanting to hear some crazy stories from times gone by – These are stories you'll be telling your mates in the pub………………www.cyclosportive.org
CYCLOSPORT.ORG RATING: 9/10
RRP: £20 Hardback