Twelve years after Tim Moore toiled round the route of the Tour de France, he senses his achievement being undermined by the truth about 'Horrid Lance'. His rash response is to take on a fearsome challenge from an age of untarnished heroes: the notorious 1914 Giro d'Italia.
History's most appalling bike race was an ordeal of 400-kilometre stages, cataclysmic night storms and relentless sabotage - all on a diet of raw eggs and red wine. Of the 81 who rolled out of Milan, only eight made it back.
Committed to total authenticity, Tim acquires the ruined husk of a gearless, wooden-wheeled 1914 road bike, some maps and an alarming period outfit topped off with a pair of blue-lensed welding goggles.
What unfolds is the tale of decreipt crock trying to ride another up a thousand lonely hills, then down them with only wine corks for brakes. From the Alps to the Adriatic, the pair steadily fall to bits, on an adventure that is by turns bold, beautiful and recklessly incompetent.