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Wide-eyed and Legless: Inside the Tour de France (Sportspages Book) Paperback – Jun 1988


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Product details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster Ltd (Jun. 1988)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0671699377
  • ISBN-13: 978-0671699376
  • Product Dimensions: 21.3 x 13.7 x 1.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,382,836 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

"One of the most vivid and entertaining books ever written about the Tour de France" -- Richard Moore, from the Foreword "A true classic of cycling literature" Cycling Weekly "The British squad were out of their depth but Connor's documentary does not poke fun or seek to humiliate. Instead, it makes you feel like you're there with them, suffering and biting your lip" Cycle Sport "A fabulously observed diary of July 1987, when the dream of British cycling joining the European mainstream crashed catastrophically ... side-splittingly funny" -- Cycling Books.com

Book Description

A fast-paced, fly-on-the-wall story of courage, endurance, bungling, rows and cheating in sport's greatest marathon --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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3.6 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By A. N. Fletcher on 4 July 2011
Format: Paperback
A fascinating and reasonably dispassionate view of cycling in that era. But for the British / UK / Scottish / Anglo-Saxon rise to a level of respect in European cycling over the last 15 years, this book would have been almost too cringe-making to read. It's quite sad as the book reflects on potentially great English cyclists who were simply not understood or looked after properly. To read this book is to gain another dimension and reach a new level of understanding of the world of professional road cycling.

I strongly recommend that you immediately follow Wide-eyed and Legless with Sky's the Limit - that is perfect literary juxtaposition. Maybe Sky was trying too hard and did not know enough about the indefinable T de F factor, but it survived well. ANC Halfords were total novices and also did not know enough about the indefinable T de F factor, and it crumbled miserably but not without many moments of humour and laughable behaviour, amongst days and weeks of unbridled heroism from others on the team.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
The 1987 Tour de France saw Irishman Stephen Roche triumph, including one of the most memorable scenes in the Tour's history - his dramatic recovery during the stage to La Plagne, followed by his physical collapse after he crossed the finishing line.

It also saw the first British team compete for 20 years, ANC Halfords, whose rather shambolic attempts now look even more poignant given that it was over a couple of decades later that the professionalism and resources of Sky saw a Brit win the Tour de France two years in a row.

1987 is notable for a third reason - it was the tour covered by Jeff Connor's book, Wide-eyed and legless: Insider the Tour de France, rated by Cycle Sport as the top cycling book of all time.

It's a deserved accolade for the book energetically and clearly covers not just the race but many of the wider issues around road racing, including why so many riders ended up regularly cheating with drugs and why too the sport's authorities were often so reluctant to take meaningful action.

Although cycling has changed in many ways since, it is still recognisably the same sport, complete with problems over cheating, prima donna cyclists, vast crowds, oppressive media attention and near-impossible physical challenges for the riders. Some of the lack of professionalism of "professional" teams back then has, however, thankfully been overtaken by bigger budgets and better treatment of the cyclists - at least for male cyclists.

The book itself is a great read, though its structure - an overall account of several stages at once, before doubling back to cover each of the stages in some detail - can make the flow of the story a little confusing at times.

A tip about the audio version of this book: it is missing some of the appendices at the end, even though they are amenable to be read out loud.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Darren Edwards on 13 Mar. 2012
Format: Paperback
This book at the time it was published was very highly rated, and today it is still a good read, as it describes an era which has long since gone. Turning up to the Tour in such an amateurish way, won't get you very far any more, and it's a shame for the riders involved that they were not supported properly in their brave attempt.

It is though, an essential addition to anyone's cycling library, and easy to read for someone with only a passing interest in the sport.
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Format: Paperback
I had heard for many years about this book, and jumped at the chance to buy it when it was re-released. I finished it in practically a day. This was the first tour I ever followed and as a cyclist at the time, it brought me back -the riders, the teams, Kelly's crash, that time trial!!So it was nice to re-live the tour from behind the curtain. Its nice to see the prize list at the end compared to what they get now its peanuts.
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3 of 5 people found the following review helpful By T. Deegan on 26 Feb. 2009
Format: Paperback
I was 19 when I bought and read this book in 1988. To a certain extent it is now historical as times have moved on, not least the drug scandals.
However at the time it certainly opened my eyes. Consequently I have been saddened but not surprised by the Festina affair, Operacion Puerto, etc.
A very interesting insight into the sport and especially into the race, that is hyper-tough, full of drama and high moments, but also has a seamier side that is very dirty and sometimes dangerous.
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By S E Payne on 3 April 2015
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Not as good as I was expecting, but still an interesting read
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Phil Aldis on 9 Jan. 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Enjoyed the story as I am a Tour De France fan. Not the best written book but worth a read and an easy book to read quickly.
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