Slaying the Badger: LeMond, Hinault and the Greatest Ever Tour de France Paperback – 26 May 2011
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'Richard Moore continues to display and extend his well-earned reputation for exhaustive research... Putting all that was revealed into context in such a masterly, relevant and intriguing fashion is a skill all of itself. The victor was known to you and I before even the contents page has been given a cursory glance, yet the narrative imposes a necessity to read to the very end to find out if Greg really did win the 1986 Tour de France.'
--The Washingmachine Post
4 �½ stars: `an engrossing story, even to those well familiar with the denouement of the '86 Tour... Hinault's commitment to helping his teammate may be unclear, but Slaying the Badger proves one thing: if the 1986 Tour de France is the greatest ever, then it was its greatest rivalry that made it that way.'
`From the opening pages this is a book that grips. Combining great insight, interviews and anecdotes with wonderfully vivid writing, it is thoroughly researched and well written. Like the event itself, the book is so engrossing, you don't want it to end. --Scotland on Sunday
`Intriguing insight into one of professional cycling's greatest rivalries...an engrossing story' --Bike Radar
'Both men invite Moore into their homes: a privilege that clearly took some badger-like tenacity to secure. But it was worth the effort as Moore gains fresh insight into the rivalry.' --East Anglian Daily Times
`Moore entertainingly unravels the complexities of the relationships within the peloton during a three-week stage race, the sort of battle in which alliances can shift from one mountain peak to another and your enemy's enemy can suddenly become your most valued friend.' --Guardian
`The stars are, inevitably, Hinault and LeMond themselves, both with their own memories of what did and did not happen. But they're almost outshone by three of the supporting cast. ... How true was Hinauolt to his word in 1986? Was he just stirring it up or did he actually try to give the French what they wanted from him, a sixth Tour victory? Well that's the story Richard Moore tells in Slaying The Badger. And some stories you really do have to read for yourselves.' --PodiumCafe.com
`As a matter of some urgency, arm yourself first with Slaying the Badger by Richard Moore and immerse yourself in the epic story of the 1986 Tour and the two greatest riders of their era.' ... `the race and the book builds towards a gripping page turning climax which you don't want to end.' --The Telegraph
`Finally, this is Richard Moore's new book, Slaying the Badger. It tells the tale of Greg LeMond, Beranrd Hinault and the 1986 Tour de France.' --Roadcyclinguk.com
`The tale of the spectator Lemond-Hinault rivalry over the roads of the `greatest ever' Tour de France in 1986 is hardly unknown for most cycling fan - and yet Moore magnificently offers a fresh perspective, bringing alive this supreme tussle by resorting to some vintage toilet humour.' ... `his book is a gripping read.' --UK.eurosport.yahoo.com/blog/blazin-saddles
Heroism and treachery, spectacle and controversy, mind-games and endurance - welcome to the Tour de France.See all Product description
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Moore tries to unravel the events surrounding Lemond's victory and whether or not his team mate, Hinault (the badger) was riding against him to gain victory for himself and win an unprecedented sixth victory. Claim and counter claim from our two protagonists ensure that the `truth' will never be known, however, by interviewing many of the major players of the 1986 Tour, Moore manages to add further intrigue and controversy to an already legendary tale.
Both Lemond and Hinault are brilliant characters (Hinault is simply a mad Frenchman - check out when he was driving and texting) and I found it difficult to take sides. As a result, for me, the book had the ideal ending.
Richard Moore has played a blinder with this story and proved that his biography of Robert Millar was no fluke.
I would recommend `Slaying the Badger' not just to fans of cycling and the Tour de France, but to any fan of sporting drama! A delightful read. Thank you Richard.
I was eager to get my hands on a copy when I saw this become available to pre-order. Firstly, as a cycling fan it represents welcome respite from the current doping scandals in which the sport is embroiled. While you may, after reading the book (especially the first few paragraphs), feel that it wasn't exactly a "clean" race, I would much rather read about tactical intrigue and sub-plots than any pharmaceutical underhandedness.
Secondly, having enjoyed his first couple of books, I was keen to read more from Moore given the entertaining and well informed style through which he delivers a story. Having said that, don't just take the word of a self-professed fan; I think the awards and critical acclaim he has received to date make a good case for reading his books.
There are already plenty of detailed professional reviews which dissect the whole book and provide a synopsis of virtually the entire story. However, having read many of the reviews while waiting for my copy to arrive I would advise against reading them and just get stuck into the book itself. Given that the story played out some 25 years ago, even those who followed the race at the time will have forgotten a lot of the detail. To approach the book fresh allows you to re-live it but with the added benefit of the thoroughly researched commentary provided by Moore as well as the thoughts and views of the protagonists themselves.
Finally (and at the risk of sounding patronising) for those that don't necessarily follow cycling, it is written in a style that doesn't assume a detailed knowledge and understanding of the sport. In fact, I would say it is a good case-study through which to introduce yourself to this (once?) magnificent sport.
What I really enjoyed about 'Slaying the Badger' was the detail the author has gone to in relayig the story of what he believes is the greatest Tour de France ever. Rather than just rehash some newspaper clippings, Moore has revisited the main characters of his book - LeMond and Hinault - to get their views on that gripping race. And that is what makes it such a fascinating read.
By sitting down with the two riders, along with several other key players [Hampsten, Kochli etc], Moore has been able to paint a vivid picture of what those 3 weeks in July 1986 were really like.
Moore's style of writing is easy to follow, and at times witty, but that is not to say its shallow. His very perceptive observations of his interview subjects goes a long way to helping us understand their personalities, their strengths and weaknesses. And it is these traits that are so integral to the controversy of the 1986 race.
I also enjoyed how the 'human element' is central to the story line. At a time when we can sometimes look to professional cyclists as mere robots, or machines, Moore helps us to appreciate the emotional composition of his subjects - including Bernard Hinault!
Was it the greatest Tour de France Ever? Moore may think so, and he has made a pretty compelling argument in his book. I will reserved judgment on whether '86 was better than '89. But I will say that 'Slaying the Badger' was the most enjoyable Tour de France account I have ever read.
I would throughly recommend this book to anyone who has any interest in cycling.
A great read. 5 stars.
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