Published by HarperCollins.
I had a thoroughly enjoyable time taking the pictures for
this book. The mountains of France provide some of the most beautiful scenes in the world. Plus the history of these climbs, why the roads go where they do and what part they have played in what I think is the world’s greatest sporting event, is fascinating.
I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it. And I hope it’s hard working enough to help you discover more of the mountains that have shaped the Tour de France.
Tour de France
The Tour de France is the biggest annual sporting event in the world. For three weeks it has priority over a nation's roads. As long ago as the 1960's a French writer said that President De Gaulle might run the country for eleven months but in July, France was ruled by the Tour
The Northern Alps run south from Lake Leman near Geneva, to include the Vanoise massif and northern Maurienne climbs-and are dominated by the huge bulk of Mont Blanc in the east. For cyclists they are quieter and less-well explored than the Central Alps.
This is where the big names are. The Central Alps are stuffed with some of the most iconic climbs in cycling, and consequently the place buzzes with bike riders determined to emulate the pass-storming epics the read about in magazines or see on TV.
Dividing the Alps into northern and central regions is a question of drawing an almost arbitrary line between similar regions, but the Southern Alps have an entirely different feel to the rest of the range.
The Western Pyrenees run from the region around the town of Oloron-Sainte-Marie, south-east to the start of Col du Peyresourde just to the west of Bagnères-de-Luchon , which if not the geographic absolute middle of the whole range is certainly a convenient place to draw the line
The Eastern Pyrenees run from Bagnères-de-Bigorre nearly to Perpignan on the Mediterranean coast of France. They can be sub-divided further by their geology
The Massif-Central is an area of upland in south-central France that comprises the Auvergne Mountains in the north and Cévennes in the south plus a number of small massifs clustered around the south and west of the Cevennes.
Vosges and Jura
The Vosges and Jura almost touch each other, but they are quite different in character. The Vosges are in the north-eat of France and are the northernmost mountains that the Tour of France visits.
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