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We Were Young and Carefree: The Autobiography of Laurent Fignon [Paperback]

Laurent Fignon
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (53 customer reviews)
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Book Description

10 Jun 2010

'One of the most charismatic and flamboyant cyclists in recent history' Daily Telegraph

Laurent Fignon is one of the giants of modern cycling. Twice-winner of the Tour de France in the early eighties, Fignon became the star for a new generation. In 1989 he took part in one of the most fiercely-contested Tours of all time. Over the course of 3,285 kilometres he lost out to his American arch-rival, Greg LeMond, by an agonising eight seconds on the final Parisian time trial.

In this forthright and unflinching account the former champion spares neither friends nor opponents, nor even himself. In doing so he gives cycling fans a tantalising glimpse of what really went on behind the scenes of this epic sport - the friendships, the rivalries, the betrayals, the scheming, the parties, the girls, and, of course, the performance-enhancing drugs.

Laurent Fignon lived cycling at its peak. He enjoyed a truly exceptional career, winning over eighty titles from 1982 to 1993. The highs were matched by lows of serious injury, periods of self-doubt, and accusations of cheating.

Fignon's story bestrides a golden age in cycling: a time when the headlines spoke of heroes, not doping, and a time when cyclists were afraid of nothing.

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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: 13.7 x 21.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (53 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 20,562 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


"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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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
21 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The real Fignon 2 July 2010
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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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Keeper 5 Feb 2011
By jaycee2
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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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Salute le Professeur 28 Jan 2011
By Terry D
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
5.0 out of 5 stars A FITTING EPITAPH TO THE PROFESSOR 9 Sep 2010
I found this a marvellous read. Fignon was perhaps unkindly nicknamed the Professor because he had attained some level of education at a time when French pro riders were mostly tough farmboys. His erudition shows; a very well informed, eloquent and interesting take on his view of the cycling world, made all the more poignant for me as he sadly died well before his time just a few days after I turned the last page. RIP Laurent.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent read - highly recommended 15 Aug 2010
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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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fignon review 16 Mar 2011
By jo
Fignon certainly tells it straight. He lived fast and was gone by the time he was fifty. Very well written. One of the reviews on the books cover said it was always funny. It isn't funny. There is humour but this is a story stripped of unnecessary emotion and keeps to the basic facts. You learn little of his life outside of cycling, and in a way this is a shame as his home life and other interests would have shown the reader what shaped his character other than his cycling talent. As it is an autobiography it is surprising that it is so well written by a professional sportsman but that is why Fignon was different. A superb read similar to Obree's autobiography, in it's openness.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fignon Biography 25 Aug 2010
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
A very well writen biography from a man who could be bitter about his past and present, but isnt!
He captures the times he raced in perfectly, his hardships and dissapointments, but also the good times.
The book mentions the drug use of the time without making it the main part of the book.
Very interesting and worth every penny.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
great rider, enjoyed first three quarters of this book, respect for the author
Published 16 days ago by Mr. Alastair Burnett
5.0 out of 5 stars Very good
Very interesting book from start to finish.
Published 26 days ago by Ian Stewart
5.0 out of 5 stars Honest and frank
Laurent Fignon clearly did not suffer fools gladly but was as hard on himself as anyone else. A great book
Published 3 months ago by Gavin MacBeath
5.0 out of 5 stars a great rider with a great story rip
All of cycling greats have a great story the moments of fignon's life move you closer to the man - read and enjoy
Published 6 months ago by Nik
5.0 out of 5 stars Laurent Fignon Autobiography
Excellent read with lots of insight into the lifestyle of the pro cyclist in the eighties. Highly recommend this book.
Published 6 months ago by Marie Lynch
5.0 out of 5 stars best ever
loved the 1988 TDF and at the time worshipped Greg Lemond, however it wouldn't have been the spectacle it was without Fignon ! Read more
Published 7 months ago by John McGregor
4.0 out of 5 stars A bit 'French', a temps
I enjoyed this 'brutally honest'(?) tale of cycling in the 1980's. At times it could be heavy going (quirks in translation? Read more
Published 7 months ago by Spanish traveller
5.0 out of 5 stars A Must Read for 1980's Cyclists
Indelibly etched in my mind is watching Fignon's reaction when Greg Lemond gained 6 seconds in that final time trial. Read more
Published 8 months ago by Mr Michael G Miller
5.0 out of 5 stars you have to love Laurent
I loved Mr Fignon, what a great legend of the sport. He had giant kahunas and never was there a dull moment with him. Read more
Published 10 months ago by J. P. Marshall
Published 10 months ago by spike
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