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Slaying the Badger: LeMond, Hinault and the Greatest Ever Tour de France [Paperback]

Richard Moore
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (54 customer reviews)

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Book Description

26 May 2011

The Tour de France is renowned for its chaos and drama. But no other Tour has quite compared to what played out in 1986. That year witnessed a show-stopping rivalry that had spectators across the world agog.

Greg LeMond , a fresh-faced and mercurial youngster, dubbed 'L'Américain', was a naïve Tour newbie. Frenchman Bernard 'The Badger' Hinault was five times winner and as tough as old boots.

Though polar opposites, they were both fiercely competitive, both equally brilliant. So why was the world shocked that they were at each other's throats? They were meant to be team-mates.

Their explosive rivalry broke every rule in the book. No one wins the Tour single-handed; out there your team counts for everything. After his previous year's win Hinault had pledged his absolute support for LeMond, but as 1986 the Tour circled France, his constant attacks on his team-mate seemed like cold-blooded sabotage.

Why was Hinault putting LeMond in jeopardy? Would he crack under the pressure? Something sinister was going on, but no one knew quite what.

Slaying the Badger relives the adrenaline, the agony, the camaraderie, the betrayals, and the pure exhilaration of that epic year, as the biggest conundrum of Tour history is finally laid bare.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Yellow Jersey (26 May 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0224082906
  • ISBN-13: 978-0224082907
  • Product Dimensions: 15.4 x 23.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (54 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 120,061 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


'Richard Moore continues to display and extend his well-earned reputation for exhaustive research... Putting all that was revealed into context in such a masterly, relevant and intriguing fashion is a skill all of itself. The victor was known to you and I before even the contents page has been given a cursory glance, yet the narrative imposes a necessity to read to the very end to find out if Greg really did win the 1986 Tour de France.'
--The Washingmachine Post

4 �½ stars: `an engrossing story, even to those well familiar with the denouement of the '86 Tour... Hinault's commitment to helping his teammate may be unclear, but Slaying the Badger proves one thing: if the 1986 Tour de France is the greatest ever, then it was its greatest rivalry that made it that way.'

`From the opening pages this is a book that grips. Combining great insight, interviews and anecdotes with wonderfully vivid writing, it is thoroughly researched and well written. Like the event itself, the book is so engrossing, you don't want it to end. --Scotland on Sunday

`Intriguing insight into one of professional cycling's greatest engrossing story' --Bike Radar

'Both men invite Moore into their homes: a privilege that clearly took some badger-like tenacity to secure. But it was worth the effort as Moore gains fresh insight into the rivalry.' --East Anglian Daily Times

`Moore entertainingly unravels the complexities of the relationships within the peloton during a three-week stage race, the sort of battle in which alliances can shift from one mountain peak to another and your enemy's enemy can suddenly become your most valued friend.' --Guardian

`The stars are, inevitably, Hinault and LeMond themselves, both with their own memories of what did and did not happen. But they're almost outshone by three of the supporting cast. ... How true was Hinauolt to his word in 1986? Was he just stirring it up or did he actually try to give the French what they wanted from him, a sixth Tour victory? Well that's the story Richard Moore tells in Slaying The Badger. And some stories you really do have to read for yourselves.'

`As a matter of some urgency, arm yourself first with Slaying the Badger by Richard Moore and immerse yourself in the epic story of the 1986 Tour and the two greatest riders of their era.' ... `the race and the book builds towards a gripping page turning climax which you don't want to end.' --The Telegraph

`Finally, this is Richard Moore's new book, Slaying the Badger. It tells the tale of Greg LeMond, Beranrd Hinault and the 1986 Tour de France.'

`The tale of the spectator Lemond-Hinault rivalry over the roads of the `greatest ever' Tour de France in 1986 is hardly unknown for most cycling fan - and yet Moore magnificently offers a fresh perspective, bringing alive this supreme tussle by resorting to some vintage toilet humour.' ... `his book is a gripping read.'

`A gripping narrative of this psychological and physical three - week war...The 98th Tour [de France] gets under way today, and it is good to be reminded that the race used to have twice - a - day stages, that helmets didn't always obscure the riders and that technology once had little place in the Tour'
--The Wall Street Journal

`captivating...Slaying the Badger is a mixture of clear-eyed journalistic analysis and unashamed nostalgia' --TLS

Book Description

Heroism and treachery, spectacle and controversy, mind-games and endurance - welcome to the Tour de France.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant! The Best Tour ever. 15 Jun 2011
By Joman73
Absolutely brilliant retelling of the events surrounding the 1986 Tour de France by Richard Moore. This was the first Tour broadcast on British TV by Channel 4 and as it was also my first Tour it brought back many many great memories.

Moore tries to unravel the events surrounding Lemond's victory and whether or not his team mate, Hinault (the badger) was riding against him to gain victory for himself and win an unprecedented sixth victory. Claim and counter claim from our two protagonists ensure that the `truth' will never be known, however, by interviewing many of the major players of the 1986 Tour, Moore manages to add further intrigue and controversy to an already legendary tale.

Both Lemond and Hinault are brilliant characters (Hinault is simply a mad Frenchman - check out when he was driving and texting) and I found it difficult to take sides. As a result, for me, the book had the ideal ending.

Richard Moore has played a blinder with this story and proved that his biography of Robert Millar was no fluke.

I would recommend `Slaying the Badger' not just to fans of cycling and the Tour de France, but to any fan of sporting drama! A delightful read. Thank you Richard.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Having enjoyed Richard Moore's fascinating biography of Robert Millar, I was excited to see he had again turned his pen towards obsessive characters in this classic period of cycling history. Not only is the book superbly written, but the apparent level of research he has made into his subjects is staggering. Combine this with Moore's genuine insight into the mind of sportsmen, and you have a book that will delight any reader, while still providing surprises for the best-informed sports fans. Superb.
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19 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars LeMond 1 - Badger Nil 3 Jun 2011
I don't think I'm spoiling anyone's read when I say that LeMond comes out on top in this one (otherwise it would only be "attempted slaying" of said Badger, aka Bernard Hinault), but what a fantastic story of two emulous teammates vying for the top prize in such a storied and brutal sport.

I was eager to get my hands on a copy when I saw this become available to pre-order. Firstly, as a cycling fan it represents welcome respite from the current doping scandals in which the sport is embroiled. While you may, after reading the book (especially the first few paragraphs), feel that it wasn't exactly a "clean" race, I would much rather read about tactical intrigue and sub-plots than any pharmaceutical underhandedness.

Secondly, having enjoyed his first couple of books, I was keen to read more from Moore given the entertaining and well informed style through which he delivers a story. Having said that, don't just take the word of a self-professed fan; I think the awards and critical acclaim he has received to date make a good case for reading his books.

There are already plenty of detailed professional reviews which dissect the whole book and provide a synopsis of virtually the entire story. However, having read many of the reviews while waiting for my copy to arrive I would advise against reading them and just get stuck into the book itself. Given that the story played out some 25 years ago, even those who followed the race at the time will have forgotten a lot of the detail. To approach the book fresh allows you to re-live it but with the added benefit of the thoroughly researched commentary provided by Moore as well as the thoughts and views of the protagonists themselves.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars more than cycling 17 Oct 2011
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
It's a bit of a cliche, but cycle racing is a lot more than just pedaling a bike faster than the other bloke. This book gives a good insight to the political maneuvering, intrigue and egos in professional cycling. It is epic, it's more than just racing, it is the whole of life seen in the cycling bubble.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great book about a great race 19 Jun 2011
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Richard Moore is the perfect writer to tell the tale of the 1986 Tour de France and the rivalry between Bernard Hinault and Greg Le Mond. His passion and knowledge of cycling shine through as they did in the other two books by him that I have read, In Search of Robert Millar: Unravelling the Mystery Surrounding Britain's Most Successful Tour de France Cyclist: Unravelling the Mystery Surrounding Britain's Most Successful Tour De France Cyclist and Heroes, Villains and Velodromes: Chris Hoy and Britain's Track Cycling Revolution but it is ability to construct a narrative and the fluid style of his writing that makes him stand so tall in the ranks of modern sports writers. The story of this epic race is told through the words of people who were there. Le Mond and Hinault themselves as well as directeur sportives and fellow riders. Moore introduces us to all the players, giving us a background to each of their perspectives and an idea of their personalities and then tells to unfolding story through their words so that you finish the book feeling like you have been there in the heart of the race yourself. It reads like a gripping novel so well is it constructed. As I write this we're 2 weeks away from the 2011 Tour de France and this is a book I would strongly advise you read as to set your pulse racing in anticipation of this year's race.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Great read.
Well written and exhaustively researched. For folks who grew up watching this as their first TdF it's a great trip down memory lane.
Published 17 days ago by John A. Mitchell
4.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating....
As someone who thought they knew the story of the 1986 Tour de France, how wrong was I . A fascinating insight into the background and beyond of this , the greatest Tour ever. Read more
Published 1 month ago by JohnH
5.0 out of 5 stars Gripping account.
Richard Moore has done a great job of telling the story of LeMond and Hinault. The story flows well considering the narrative moves between interviews with the two riders and other... Read more
Published 1 month ago by Kevin
4.0 out of 5 stars Tour de France
The third part of Christmas present. He seemed to enjoy it but didn't really discuss it so I have rated this book four stars.
Published 1 month ago by roni w
5.0 out of 5 stars Greatest Ever Tour?
I don't think I'd agree with 'Greatest Ever Tour de France', but a cracking good read. I wasn't sure I wanted to read it, as Hinault was (and still is) my cycling hero, but I like... Read more
Published 1 month ago by D. Lane
5.0 out of 5 stars At last i got it
I bin trying for several years to get my hands on this book well worth the weight only gone a few chapters in just can't put it down . Read more
Published 2 months ago by Gerald Crook
5.0 out of 5 stars Cycling
Bought for my husband to read on his new Kindle e-Reader, he enjoyed reading this very much. He is really pleased that he can now read books without the bulk of an actual book.
Published 2 months ago by Mrs. J. A. Archer
5.0 out of 5 stars The best cycling book in the world ever.
Fantastic book, I couldn't put it down.
I could picture the races in high definition from the great way the author described them.
Published 3 months ago by Anthony
5.0 out of 5 stars Very pleased
Bought as a Xmas present for my cycling mad son - who is very pleased with the book. Apparently gripping reading
Published 3 months ago by KH
5.0 out of 5 stars Wow!
I've read a lot of cycling books, and this one is certainly my favourite. Engaging style that builds the story and tension without compromising either perspective. Read more
Published 4 months ago by Steve
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