Le Tour: A History of the Tour de France

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9781847390868: Le Tour: A History of the Tour de France
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When Henri Desgrange began a bicycle road race in 1903, he saw it as little more than a publicity stunt to promote his newspaper. The sixty cyclists who left Paris to ride through the night to Lyons had little idea that they were pioneers of the most famous of all bike races. A wonderful blend of history, sport, and culture, this account follows the Tour from its humble origins up to its present-day international fame. Alongside a collection of captivating cycling stories are tales of some of history’s most famous and infamous riders, among them Coppi, Simpson, and Armstrong. The Tour’s impact on French culture is also addressed, adding a unique and fascinating study of 20th-century European life.

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About the Author:

Geoffrey Wheatcroft is a journalist and historian as well as the author of several award-winning books, including The Strange Death of Tory England and Yo, Blair!

Review:

"One of the best books on the subject for non-aficionados." —Times Literary Supplement

"A fascinating book."  —Spectator

"Admirable and beautifully written."  —Daily Mail

"Terrifically entertaining . . . A near masterpiece."  —Independent

"The full, foreign strangeness of the tour is mesmerisingly evoked . . . This is a charming, often moving book, bursting with joie de vivre."  —Daily Telegraph

“Brings a fresh eye to the Tour and a larger view of its cultural context. Well-read and genial, this self-confessed armchair athlete proves a surprisingly adept historian.”  —Guardian



“Written with lordly panache, the book manages to retain its narrative drive while making frequent forays into other areas of French life . . . His research is impressive, he brings characters to life, and he understands the Tour’s mythic qualities and why they matter so much . . . This is a great story, vividly told.”  —Independent on Sunday

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