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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars41
4.2 out of 5 stars
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on 9 May 2014
After reading much about those at the front of the peloton, it made a change to hear the often untold stories of those who prop up the GC and how they came to be there. The subject clearly means a lot to the author and I thoroughly enjoyed taking the journey with him through the history of red jersey and witnessing him win his own (of sorts). The stories of determination and unwillingness to give in to abandonment in this book are just as inspiring as the stories of the winners of the Tour and Max Leonard has a talent for really bringing his interviewees to life on the pages. One of the most enjoyable sports books I have read and I would recommend this book to both cycling fans and anyone just looking for an entertaining read.
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on 27 May 2014
Always forgotten but interesting anecdotes from the history of the TdF. Sometimes you forget its not just the winning, but actually completing it is the trophy, unless you want to compete for last place! This book tells us how the riders used last place to gain and would recommend to any cycling fan
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on 21 April 2014
Max is a new author for me. But I am happy to add this to my huge (!) cycling book collection. I've bought a lot of 2nd or even 3rd rate books in the past couple of years as everyone seems to want to publish about cycling. But Max has produced a first rate book. Well written and a book that I found it difficult to put down. So I used my bike lights under the duvet whilst the Mrs tried to sleep! Just one little niggle, if I may. I loved the list of all the Lanterne Rouges since that first Tour. It is a fun list and a great foil to to those books endlessly listing the winners of each Tour! I'm looking forward to your next book! How about one on the Paris-Nice - that seems to be missing from the publishers' palmares! I'd also like to see one on the great British classic of days gone by: Folkestone/Dover-London, London-Holyhead and so on. Max is the guy to write that one whilst some of the protagonists are still alive.
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on 26 August 2014
I've read more cycling books than I care to remember, but this has to rank as one of my favourites by far. Part history lesson, part personal journey, the book manages the trick of being both entertaining and informative. And whilst there are plenty of stories you'll probably already know, I'm fairly sure there's nuggets in here for even the most completeist of cycling readers.
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on 25 July 2014
Full of facts, amusing and sad stories, but as the author quotes from a website that celebrates the recipients of the Lanterne Rouge - Whatever we think of these guys, not one of us would "live on their wheel for thirty seconds". for lovers of road cycling this is a must.
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on 8 May 2014
The Tour de France is not a single bike race, it is a cluster of races fought out against the broader canvas of the fight to win the GC. One of many races is the race to stay in the race, to be rewarded with the dubious honour of carrying the Lanterne Rouge, signifying that you are the slowest rider. In this book Max Leonard tells the story of this race, the Tour we do not see, but which is very bit as heroic as the big battles going on at the front of the peloton.
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on 21 May 2014
The research is impressive but I found it sometimes difficult to follow the story. Probably because there was so many facts and figures that needed to be explored. You have to want to read this story so it is probably best suited to dedicated cyclist or Tour fan. I started it, so in true Tour style I finished it !
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VINE VOICEon 13 May 2015
I've read a lot of cycling books in my time. For any author wishing to write a new book, finding a new theme must be becoming increasingly difficult. The premise here, telling the story of those who came last in the TdF, seemed like a promising concept to me. Having now finished the book, whilst it was well written and mostly interesting, the tales didn't capture my imagination quite as much as I'd anticipated. There are some stories here of real characters, but there are also a few make-weights too, whose tale isn't particularly illuminating. It's undoubtedly true that simply finishing the Tour is incredibly hard and for many represents their victory; much more so than abandoning, which would be so much easier. However, pretty much every example is used to make that same point, so there is a sense of repetition as you progress. And whilst I think it is well written, I did find the interweaving of some of the tales a little confusing, and often had to flick back at the start of each of my reading sessions to remind myself of who was being described and who were the supporting players.

If like me, you tend to read most published cycling books of this sort, then I'm sure you'll find much of interest of here, but it's not quite the very best of its type.
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on 29 March 2016
Really enjoyed this book. A good mixture of historical events regarding Le tour as well as the obvious detail on why people become the lantern rouge. Some fascinating people as well as top stars have found themselves in this position and it was great to hear their stories.
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on 28 November 2014
Well researched and written. Great human story with wonderful historic context. Really enjoyable, you feel the context and live each subjects pain and suffering.
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