5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars
The real story of the Tour de France and its origins, 19 Nov 2010
Les Woodland is, himself a man of the Tour. This is his 25th cycling book since he began writing about cycling in 1965, and many, if not most of them have been about the Tour de France. But Tourmen isn't just another rehash of all the old stories any true fan of the race already knows. Tourmen tells the reader about the race; its history, its directors -- and their rivalries, the drugs, and the true characters, it's all here.
In Tourmen, Woodland covers not only the friction between racers such as Coppi and Bartali, but also the ill will that existed between race directors Jacques Goddet and Felix Levitan. There are the expected stories about drug use, but there's also the touching tale of how the Winter Velodrme was used to house Jewish prisoners in squalid conditions before they were shipped off the the death camps. There's the "My-race-has-been-won-by-a-corpse" Tour of 1929, but here's also the delightful story of 'Baron' Henri Pepin de Gontaud, who rode in the 1907 race, often stopping along the route to picnic with his helpers, whom he paid lavishly. It's all here and much, much more. This brief review can't come close to imparting the level of enjoyment any cycling fan will have while reading Tourmen. Another wonderful book from the dean of cycling writers.
In the interest of disclosure, Mr. Woodland and I have the same publisher for our books this year, but I have always been a fan of his and own atleast half of the books he's written -- books I started buying more than 15 years ago -- because they're factual and very intertaining.
James L. Witherell