Deliver to your Kindle or other device


Try it free

Sample the beginning of this book for free

Deliver to your Kindle or other device

Anybody can read Kindle books—even without a Kindle device—with the FREE Kindle app for smartphones, tablets and computers.
A Race for Madmen: A History of the Tour de France

A Race for Madmen: A History of the Tour de France [Kindle Edition]

Chris Sidwells
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (45 customer reviews)

Print List Price: £15.03
Kindle Price: £2.99 includes VAT* & free wireless delivery via Amazon Whispernet
You Save: £12.04 (80%)
* Unlike print books, digital books are subject to VAT.


Amazon Price New from Used from
Kindle Edition £2.99  
Hardcover £14.23  
Paperback --  
Kindle Daily Deal
Kindle Daily Deal: At least 60% off
Each day we unveil a new book deal at a specially discounted price--for that day only. Learn more about the Kindle Daily Deal or sign up for the Kindle Daily Deal Newsletter to receive free e-mail notifications about each day's deal.
From mountain bikes to cycle computers, find 1000s of products in our bikes store.

Product Description


• ‘An intriguing read for almost any reader, not only those who are interested in cycling.’
Tuam Herald

• ‘[An] engaging and accessible account of the race’s history.’
Sunday Business Post

Product Description

No sporting event has had its past and present, its highs and lows so intricately entwined with those of a country like the Tour has with France.

The Tour de France is the biggest annual sporting event in the world, and at the same time it transcends sport. The Tour de France comes to the people. It passes their houses, it turns right in their village squares, it thunders through their suburban streets and into the hearts of their towns and cities. It is a unique event in that people don't so much go to see the Tour, as it comes to see them.

A Race for Madmen traces how the Tour de France has developed and examines tactics, bike technology and rider preparation too. It profiles some of the men who have won the Tour de France, and others who have been key players, looking closely at their lives and motivation. Subsidiary competitions, such as the King of the Mountains prize, are featured, as well as Tour lore and traditions.

The book examines the Tour's extraordinary history, and how a bike race, a simple sporting contest captured the imagination of a country, then a continent and then the world, while at the same time it has stayed uniquely French, even though a Frenchman hasn't won it for over 20 years.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 10520 KB
  • Print Length: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Collins (9 Jun 2011)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0051ANQRI
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (45 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #98,286 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
  •  Would you like to give feedback on images?

More About the Author

Chris Sidwells is a best-selling author, journalist, photographer and broadcaster, reporting on every aspect of cycling and fitness. His work has featured in Cycle Sport, Cycling Weekly, Men's Fitness and GQ and he is the author of Cyclosportive, A Race for Madmen and Complete Bike Book.

What Other Items Do Customers Buy After Viewing This Item?

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
27 of 27 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Makes the extraordinary accessible and real 16 Aug 2010
Endurance cyclists are a deceptive looking bunch. In their quest for the perfect power to weight ratios, their upper bodies go undeveloped and are sometimes positively scrawny. Even their legs don't have the tree-trunk-like solidity of their cousins sprinting in the velodrome. Yet they are amongst the fittest sportsmen in the world, competing over distances and timespans way beyond any other major sport and the Tour de France is their ultimate challenge. Chris Sidwells' book is a very enjoyable and interesting homage to both those extraordinary cyclists and the Tour itself.

It's an accessible and easy read, following a chronological narrative through the more than a century of the Tour. Inevitably, some incidents and years get more coverage than others but that's only right. In fact, writing a history of the Tour presents something of a challenge, not in terms of what to include but what to leave out given the near 100 tours, thousands of stages and thousands of competitors. Sidwells makes mention of every single tour but with rare exceptions doesn't make them the focus of the story - that focus is firmly on the riders themselves and particularly the great ones, the champions.

In doing so, he moves slightly away from a true history for better and worse. The 'worse' is that it means that there are omissions. The Tour itself begins as very much a key player in its own right but as it becomes established, there's less space devoted to the organisation, the teams, the media coverage, the technology, the Tour's place in France's national consciousness and so on. It would certainly be possible to write a more thorough and perhaps better 'history' of the race but it wouldn't necessarily be an improved book.
Read more ›
Was this review helpful to you?
17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb! 26 July 2010
By Neal
I wanted to learn about the Tour and those riders who secured their place in history by taking part in it. This book does that brilliantly.

The book chronologically moves through the Tour's rich history describing each Tour, some in more detail than others, as well as the key battles and riders who competed. The writing is succinct and colourful and at times a little too familiar, nonetheless it flows off the page into your mind, where you can recreate some of cycling's greatest battles. In the middle of the book there are a dozen pages with pictures that enable you to see some of famous riders and landmarks.

I now feel I understand much more about cycling history, the Tour and would recommend the book to anyone who would like to learn about such things too.
Comment | 
Was this review helpful to you?
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent 3 Sep 2010
I bought this with only a passing interest in cycling and the Tour De France. What a great book! Informative and interesting without ever being overly technical I would imagine it would appeal to hard core cycling fans right through to your average Joe. The book has made me look forward to next years tour as well as given me a new interest in the Pyrenees and surrounding areas.
Comment | 
Was this review helpful to you?
18 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic 10 Jun 2010
How can you review a book without reading it? Obviously READER is a very important person who thinks his views really need to be read even though he doesn't need to read a book to review it. And he's so important that he hasn't even got the guts to say who he is! My parents taught me that if you can't say anything nice, then don't say anything at all.

This book is not a run of the mill history of the Tour. It comes from the heart of a man who has lived on the edge of cycling all his life and with tragic results to his family. And yet he still loves everything about cycling with a passion.

It's full of stories most of us have never heard before and photo's that most of us have never seen before. It's funny and sad in places but it's very entertaining and an easy book to read, well worth the money.

I sure all you normal people will enjoy a really good read and then you can speak with knowledge.
Comment | 
Was this review helpful to you?
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars All you need to know about the TDF 10 Jan 2011
Been an avid cyclist i thought i knew a fair bit about the history of the Tour De France, how wrong i was. So when huddled in a tent amidst the Pyrenees last summer waiting for Le Tour to pass over the high mountains for the 100th time i picked up a copy of "A Race for Madmen" i was that enthralled with the history of the event that i nearly forgot to go out and watch the event to pass. The book follows in chronological order the development of the event and has researched in detail the early pioneers. The way Sidwells writes though stops it just been an ordered history of the race, it digs deep into the pyschey of the racers and yet is not afraid to delve into the dark side of the sport discussing in detail the relationship between the event and drugs. I was also pleased to see that the main body of the book concentrates on the tour from the fifties to the eighties leaving the more recent history to other authors and media. Sidwells own passion for the sport is easy to see and the chapter on Tom Simpson is all the more heartfelt when you realise that he is his nephew yet doesn`t glamourise his untimely death and its circumstances. My only advice with this book is don`t start reading it on a day when you`re supposed to be watching the Le Tour as you might just miss todays modern day heroes, reading about the heroes of yester year.
Comment | 
Was this review helpful to you?
Would you like to see more reviews about this item?
Were these reviews helpful?   Let us know
Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Thoroughly enjoyable
This book, as it says on the cover, gives a history of the tour de france. Sidwells starts at the beginning and comes up until the 2010 tour. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Chris Widgery
5.0 out of 5 stars Mad review.
Well titled! Although not a cyclist I really enjoyed this book. The history of the Tour is fascinating. Such characters involved, I loved it.
Published 3 months ago by Lindyloo
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic story
As someone who enjoys history and is a cycling fan, what's not to like about this book.I thought I knew about the Tour,but the amount of detail and research that must have gone... Read more
Published 5 months ago by JohnH
5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating story
This book was recommended to me and I have not been disappointed. The story is fascinating and as a fan of Le Tour it is great to know the background.
Published 8 months ago by Christine Stevens
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting
Enjoyed this... not gripping but interesting. Got a little confused in places as it jumps around between races and years.
Published 9 months ago by K. Dalby
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant
A great read, providing good insight into the history of the tour, the riders and France generally. Remarkable tales of human endurance alongside human frailty.
Published 11 months ago by Mrs Janet M Beardmore
5.0 out of 5 stars An interesting read
A good history of the TDF from its origins onwards. Some good photos too, and interesting stories. Well written and informative.
Published 12 months ago by Mr. J. R. Whiteley
4.0 out of 5 stars Great read
Really interesting history of the tour, warts and all! Really informative and easy writing style made it easy to pick up even for short periods of reading.
Published 13 months ago by MR EDWARD C GRIGG
4.0 out of 5 stars the title says it all!
Describes how the winners triumphed. Taking part, with no hope of winning, must be soul-destroying. A fascinating read, for all cycling enthusiasts.
Published 14 months ago by G. Saunders
4.0 out of 5 stars An interesting read.
I took a chance on this book and was pleasantly surprised. For those interested in the history of cyclings premier race this is a good starting point. Read more
Published 15 months ago by J-Bear
Search Customer Reviews
Only search this product's reviews

Customer Discussions

This product's forum
Discussion Replies Latest Post
No discussions yet

Ask questions, Share opinions, Gain insight
Start a new discussion
First post:
Prompts for sign-in

Search Customer Discussions
Search all Amazon discussions

Look for similar items by category