The Tour Is Won on the Alpe: Alpe d'Huez and the Classic Battles of the Tour de France

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9781934030233: The Tour Is Won on the Alpe: Alpe d'Huez and the Classic Battles of the Tour de France

If there is one mountain climb that embodies the spirit and magic of the Tour de France, it is the Alpe d'Huez. Its twenty-one hairpin turns and average gradient of 8.1 percent over 13.1 kilometers have become legendary, changing the careers of Americans Greg LeMond and Lance Armstrong, and nearly destroying Jan Ullrich and Marco Pantani. Here at last is the definitive history and unforgettable story of cycling's greatest challenge.

In The Tour is Won on the Alpe: The Classic Battles of the Tour de France, cycling historian Jean-Paul Vespini tells the story of this celebrated climb and the mountain that so often acts as the ultimate arbiter for cycling's biggest prize. Each chapter covers one ascent, starting with Fausto Coppi's astonishing victory in 1952. Cycling's most famous names are all present and accounted for: Coppi, Eddy Merckx, Bernard Hinault, Pedro Delgado, Miguel Indurain, Marco Pantani, and of course the American victors Greg LeMond and Lance Armstrong.

Jean-Paul Vespini's riveting descriptions of each battle to the top include candid interviews with riders, new insight into epic rivalries, and little-known but fascinating facts about the climb that has become a rite of passage for every rider in the peloton.

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From the Back Cover:

Twenty-one switchbacks. A narrow ribbon of road stretching relentlessly skyward at an average grade of 8.1 percent. A finish line in thin air more than a mile high.

Nearly every July, in France's torrid summer heat, the greatest cyclists in the world confront the defiant peaks of Alpe d'Huez. It's a monster of a mountain that has become a legendary rite of passage for every racer in the Tour de France.

InThe Tour Is Won on the Alpe, veteran journalist Jean-Paul Vespini recounts the history of this fearsome challenge and the mountain that has become the ultimate arbiter of cycling's biggest prize. Each chapter in his tightly told tale covers one ascent, starting with Fausto Coppi's inaugural victory in 1952. The sport's most famous names and epic rivalries are all present and accounted for: Eddy Merckx, Bernard Hinault, Miguel Induráin, Marco Pantani, and of course the American greats Greg LeMond, Andy Hampsten and two-time Alpe stage winner Lance Armstrong.

The Tour would not be the Tour without the Alpe. And In theTour Is Won on the Alpe, the spirit and the magic of cycling's toughest test is fully told. It is an unforgettable story that will be treasured by every fan of the world's most magnificent sport.

Includes 16-page color photo section and complete records and results

About the Author:

Born in Gardanne, where the road racing season is launched every year, Jean-Paul Vespini has been a journalist for 25 years (first with Provencal then with La Provence). Vespini has contributed to numerous cycling reviews, including Le Cycle and the former Cyclisme International. He is the author of many cycling history books, including a bestseller on Richard Virenque. In 2007, Vespini covered his thirteenth Tour de France.

Translator David V. Herlihy is the author of Bicycle: The History (Yale University Press), and a former contributor to Bicycle Guide.

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