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Tour de France: The History, the Legend, the Riders Hardcover – 27 May 1999


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Product details

  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Mainstream Publishing; Updated reprint edition (27 May 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1840181923
  • ISBN-13: 978-1840181920
  • Product Dimensions: 3.2 x 17.1 x 24.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,138,144 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Product Description

Review

'A complex picture of what one of the world's greatest sporting events feels like from the inside.' -- The Independent

'One of the best books on the Tour yet - not to be missed.' -- Cycle Sport

'Stuffed full of good material...anevocative account, good on the hardship that makes the Tour an examination of the human spirit.' -- The Independent

'This is a difficult book to put down. Fife has a keen eye for detail.' -- Phil Liggett, television commentator, Daily Telegraph

This is a beast of a book which teems with energy.' -- The Glasgow Herald

Book Description

An all-encompassing history of the Tour de France that brings the story right up to date with all the action from the 2014 race --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

3.1 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Cyclebeetle on 28 Feb 2007
Format: Paperback
In amongst the words lies a really good read, detailing the history, the stories, the experiences. Unfortunately getting to them requires a great deal of effort, and as a keen cyclist but not on intimate terms with the history of the tour, it became increasingly frustrating trying to keep track of his ramblings.

Part of this was due to his attack on Paul Kimmage's Rough Ride where he abuses the author for breaking the rule of peleton by talking about doping. Frankly, after that, his credibility for me dived.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By D. Ballard on 26 Jan 2008
Format: Paperback
The book changes radically half way through. I loved the first half of this book (4 stars) but would only give the second half 2 stars.

The first half is a description of the tour's great climbs which allows the author to delve into the fascinating history of this extraordinary event. So climbs in the Pyrenees give him the opportunity to pay homage to Fabio Casartelli who was killed in 1995 on a descent, the Mont Ventoux of course brings in Tommy Simpson. Eddy Mercx, Raymond Poulidor, Jacques Anquetil, Fausto Coppi, all the great names feature. Further back in the tour's history we come across extraordinary tales. For instance, the tour leader whose front forks broke on a descent. He carried the bike down the mountain until he found a village with a forge. He then welded new front forks from scratch, himself, completely unaided for the most part. This added hours to his time. Throughout this ordeal, he was watched by officials to ensure that he didn't get any assistance. He was then penalised an extra 20 minutes because he allowed a boy to help him by blowing bellows to fan the fire - something he could not possibly have done unaided. He continued, several hours behind the lead. Quite extraordinary resourcefulness. There are loads of stories like this. And Fife suffering the same climbs - albeit on better road surfaces and without the risk of being eaten by bears or being lost in a blizzard - bridges between these extraordinary people and what a good but not exceptional cyclist could do today. It works well and I was enthralled.

The main complaint so far is that the emphasis is on the mountain stages and not on the sprint stages or on the timetrials to anything like the smae extent. But I suppose that the drama of the mountains is the essence of the tour.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By S. Down on 6 Mar 2003
Format: Paperback
I am no master of the pen but will try to keep to one subject per sentence. If Mr Fife had also tried to keep to this maxim I would have enjoyed the very entertaining stories in his book all the more.
On many occasions I was forced to re-read sections, as the prose darted off to introduce thoughts that were obviously circulating around the authors head and just had to be pinned down there and then.
This was the first book I had read about the world of Pro cycling, and I was very taken with the excitement of the events and the results, which came through despite the writing.
The Unknown TDF by Les Woodland makes an interesting counter to this book; less partisan, more readable and certainly better proofed than this volume.
One for cyclists only.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Reader / writer on 4 Nov 2007
Format: Paperback
Many books tell of Tour history, but this one is outstanding. The hardship and suffering of past and present competitors is reinforced by the author's experience of riding the famous cols and sharing his feelings with us as he recalls legendary rides by the professionals. It combines interest with a literary style which is sadly lacking in most other accounts which are ploddingly prosaic by comparison. A previous review complained of Graeme Fife's literary use of English - an understandable complaint, given the reviewer's poor vocabulary (e.g. 'under mind' instead of undermined.)
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Ben Clark on 25 Nov 2014
Format: Paperback
Imagine the horror you would know think if you had the misfortune to watch the Black and White Minstrel show now, this is the cycling equivalent. First he accuses Paul Kimmage and 3 times Tour de France Champion Greg Le Mond of be whingers because they spoke out about drug taking, er not they were not, they were telling the truth. He basically agreed that Basson's deserved to be bullied out of the 1999 Tour by Armstrong for telling the truth about the amount of EPO in the Peleton, when everyone now agrees it was a systematically shameful thing to do. He then patronises the non cycling press for their take on drugs (and the amount of them) calling them clueless because they did not understand the sport. He barely mentions Michele Ferrari and does not mention David Walsh at all, he as it turns out really knew what he was talking about in regards to Armstrong and drugs. The book is like a time capsule of when drug taking was okay and the author is a small child who puts his fingers in his ears and goes "ner, ner, ner I can't hear you". Saying that there were a few interesting stories at the start if you can get past the rambling.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Nick on 9 Dec 2011
Format: Paperback
I had great hopes for this book and then I read it. If you want to know about the tour then this isn't the book for you. The glorifacation of the drugs cheats is not something I want to read about, unfortunately this is part of the history of cycling and of the Tour, so it isn't really something you can ignore and I'm afraid Mr Fife does this well. I would love cycling not to be tainted by drugs but it was and probably is. How the man can hardly write a word on Indurain and call him stupid is beyond me and then glorify Richard Virenque, well its bizarre. There are other books out there, I would suggest them.
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