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We Were Young and Carefree: The Autobiography of Laurent Fignon Paperback – 10 Jun 2010

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Product details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Yellow Jersey (10 Jun. 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0224083198
  • ISBN-13: 978-0224083195
  • Product Dimensions: 13.6 x 2.2 x 21.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (61 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 166,980 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

"Astonishing. The twice winner of the Tour de France bares his soul, exploring the ups and downs of life as a champion, the world of competitive cycling, and his own failings" (Libération)

"Sports book of the year: He's ruthlessly honest, about himself and about cycling, and he provides a gripping insight into an unrelenting hard world" (Independent)

"This book is both a poignant farewell and as well as a rare glimpse of Fignon and his world in his own words" (London Cyclist)

"Sports book of the year: magnificent, baffling, wonderful" (Sunday Herald)

"Often touching and, above all, very funny" (L'Equipe)

Book Description

The international bestselling autobiography of twice-Tour-de-France-winner Laurent Fignon, one of the greatest and most charismatic cyclists of all time.

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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By jaycee2 on 5 Feb. 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
If I could describe this book in one word, I'd say it was 'fearless'. And when you think how Laurent Fignon rode during his pro career, it's not too far away from that...

I had a few pre-conceived ideas prior to reading this book; some from what i already knew and others from general reading, chat etc. and so was intrigued to find out more about such an enigmatic character.

This book is a very detailed account of Laurent Fignons pro-cycling career and the intracacies contained therein, describing his time in the peloton as 'a golden age' when pro-bike riders were 'winners' rather than the 'earners' of today. (Couldn't agree more with that sentiment, as it goes).

He doesn't give much away about his private life (only found out he was married half way through the book) but for me, that in no way detracts from the books' essential content. It's written with great passion about life in the pro peloton and the tactical nous needed to succeed-describing some races as "guerilla warfare" and writing of "going into battle". This for me was the highlight of the book; to have that level of insider knowledge and insight was just great and I loved that about it.

Those eight seconds; it was very very interesting to get his take on that momentous event...

Another element of this book I liked is the way in which Laurent Fignon shares with the reader his take (as well as his respect)of other big players / riders of the day; Hinault, Kelly etc etc and from that, we get to know more about those riders also.
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22 of 24 people found the following review helpful By S. de Boyett on 2 July 2010
Format: Paperback
Saw that this book had come out in French language last year, and was very happy to see that an English version was coming this year.
I am half way through this book now, and will be sad when I come to the end, as it is such a fantastic read. I feel that because the press were not so keen in Fignon, and likewise with his realationship with the press, there was not alot true or positive said about him and if so it was normally negative.
It is Fignon that has written this book, and it is written from the heart giving you a fantastic insight into this man, his fantastic career and the riders around him like for example Lemond and Hinault, who have also both written books about the careers. And because these 3 riders clashed now and again, it is funny to get each ones perspective on the given situations.
If you are passionate about cycle sport, this is essential reading.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Matthew Bakewell on 13 Aug. 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Remember that moment when you realised the universe did not revolve around you and that in everyone else's life you weren't the main character? Sadly, this moment of realisation has never happened for Lauren Fignon: when you're young, arrogant and the world number one in your sport, this might be understandable, but with hindsight, 30 years later? Come on!
Fignon seems to believe that if you write an autobiography, it's OK that it is only about you, and everybody else is an idiot. He listens to no-one and 'tells it how it is' and if you don't like it, well, he might spit on you for trying to do your job. Maybe he did do one selfless act in his life, but forgot to mention it in the book. Unapologetic, he celebrates his hedonism and obnoxious treatment of those around him, without ever taking a step back to take a good look at his thoughtless behaviour from another perspective. I found Fignon's lack of humility and humanity repulsive and the translation does him no favours whatsoever, too often using archaic or obscure phrasing which might resemble the literal French meaning, but have not been uttered in contemporary English since the mid-19th century.
He was a great athlete, but at the end of the day, he's only riding a bicycle, which all the other cycling biogs seem to realise at one point or another. There are some insights into doping, but the 'wild' anecdotes are not told with any panache or humour and, with such a dislikeable protagonist, what else have you got?
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Terry D on 28 Jan. 2011
Format: Paperback
I bought this book as I was interested to learn more of a truly great champion of a lost age of cycling. True to his character Fignon's writing style doesn't 'beat about the bush' and for me that was the attraction of hearing his story. I loved the fact that he seems to have layed down in this book his career for all to see, without his team/manager/publicist etc reigning in his forthright views. He recognised that the sport of cycling has changed and the nature of cycling's victories have changed. I'd advise any cycling fans to read this book to learn not only of Fignon's exploits but also to gain a better understanding of what many consider a golden age of cycling that is gone but should not be forgotten.
Highly recommended!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Tom Mackrell on 15 Aug. 2010
Format: Paperback
Having only just got into cycling in the last 6 months I wasn't sure if my lack of knowledge of the sport would be a disadvantage when reading this. It wasn't at all. Laurent Fignon is clearly a character who marches to his own beat regardless of the views and opinions of others. Importantly the book deals with the '8 seconds' in it's first chapter as if to acknowledge the elephant in the room and after that provides a fascinating insight into the mind of a tortured genius.
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