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We Were Young and Carefree: The Autobiography of Laurent Fignon Paperback – 10 Jun 2010
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"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)
The international bestselling autobiography of twice-Tour-de-France-winner Laurent Fignon, one of the greatest and most charismatic cyclists of all time.See all Product description
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He is clearly still wounded after finishing in 2nd place in the most exiting Tour de France in history, and rather than blaming Greg LeMond for being a wheel sucker, he should have gone into detail about how the loss occurred, and perhaps looked towards himself and his own tactics and decisions.
I was hoping the book would be more French, more bonkers as Fignon was knows as a maverick, and I think the translation from French into English lets the book down. Some phrases in there are English phrases I'm sure the French do not use - example - referring to women as 'birds', I do not know what the French equivalent is, but it would have been better. This aspect kept me a little on the outside. I wanted to be in the head of Laurent Fignon.
Laurent is a great sportsman, a fantastic cyclist and clearly intelligent. He has a wall which he is too proud to let the reader peak over. What I do like is the book is written from a time when professional cycling rode incredible distances in tours and one day races, on bikes not as technically advanced as now, and they delivered gutsy performances to win. The romance of grand tour cycling and classics cycling is captured well. If only there was photography to help keep you in the moment with him. He was young and carefree he said, he was definitely young, but he cared deeply about his profession and about performing to his maximum ability. He's a French hero, and a hero of mine and it makes my heart heavy that he is o longer with us. The sport needs more Fignons.
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.
Doping is discussed, but not in any great depth-I had the feeling that whatever it was Monsieur Fignon took in his day,there was a line he wouldn't cross, believably appearing horrified as to how doping seems to have progressed in more recent times.
I did wonder as to why he didn't include any photos-would have liked to have seen a few-and as well, why no palmares?
Over the years, I've read a lot of pro-cycling literature-this is the only one on immediately after finishing reading,I went to the front and started to re-read. Normally, i'll give away books I've read, but not this one-I'm keepin it! :)
Such a shame there won't be any more-i had the feeling there's a good few other books this guy could have written, particularly on pro-cycling of today.
A thoroughly absorbing and enjoyable read-R.I.P Monsieur (Twice TDF winner) Fignon...
I do have the feeling he might have engaged in some reputation management and there is just not enough in there about the man before the sporting achievement, nor a great deal about the man away from the sport, but I suspect it has a small readership and his editors did say to stick the brief - a book about a that great cyclist and those 8 seconds.
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