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4.5 out of 5 stars
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on 3 June 2017
A truly excellent book for anyone interested in what went on in the 80's between Hinault and Lemond.
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on 4 August 2017
One of the best cycling books I have read. Intrigue, teacher and discord obi the same team. I loved it
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on 15 June 2011
Absolutely brilliant retelling of the events surrounding the 1986 Tour de France by Richard Moore. This was the first Tour broadcast on British TV by Channel 4 and as it was also my first Tour it brought back many many great memories.

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.
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on 19 March 2017
One of the best cycling books out there along with the Fignon book . Buy it - it's a great , interesting & informative read .
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on 14 June 2011
Having enjoyed Richard Moore's fascinating biography of Robert Millar, I was excited to see he had again turned his pen towards obsessive characters in this classic period of cycling history. Not only is the book superbly written, but the apparent level of research he has made into his subjects is staggering. Combine this with Moore's genuine insight into the mind of sportsmen, and you have a book that will delight any reader, while still providing surprises for the best-informed sports fans. Superb.
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on 3 June 2011
I don't think I'm spoiling anyone's read when I say that LeMond comes out on top in this one (otherwise it would only be "attempted slaying" of said Badger, aka Bernard Hinault), but what a fantastic story of two emulous teammates vying for the top prize in such a storied and brutal sport.

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.
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on 18 July 2011
However, Moore has gone a lot further than just review a race that took place 25 years ago.

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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on 3 September 2013
I am surprised (and slightly skeptical) at all the gushing reviews. This book was okay but nothing more. It takes an interesting moment in cycling history and turns it into a plodding tale that is poorly edited. Only in the last 70 or so pages when we get to the 1986 Tour does the story take off; before that the pace is leaden.

The editing is poor with anecdotes and stories repeated within pages of each other. The way Moore writes about Shelly Verses is illustrative - she is introduced as the soigneur of 7-Eleven. A few chapters later he comes back to Verses and repeats much of the earlier chapter about her being the only female soigneur in the peloton. Moore does this a lot - providing the same details multiple times.

The opening chapters about meeting with Hinault, LeMond and Kochli are very dull. The interviews also have little bearing on the rest of the book. For instance, for someone who was meant to have revolutionsed cycling, very little detail is given as to how Kochli actually impacted results or his methodology. At the end Kochli takes pride from the La Vie Claire results in 1986, yet it's probably fair to say Kochli made very little if any difference - La Vie Claire simply had the top two riders in the peloton and another 2-3 top riders. It is not clear what Kochli did as directeur sportif, indeed, it appears he was too weak to stand up to Hinault and had he been a better directeur sportif would have sorted the leadership squabble, but this is never addressed.

The writing is also jumbled with Moore jumping around timeframes without explanation. One minute we are at a race in 1982, then back to 1979, then again in 1982, then in 1976 etc without any reason, cohesion or narrative flow.

Hinault comes across as an arrogant, bullying pig. Equally, LeMond comes across as suprisingly weak. I understand that he was being bullied and intimidated by Hinault and everyone was out to get him, but the fact is Hinault rode with much more flair and panache and when it mattered, LeMond faltered or crashed. LeMond, in reality, got lucky that Hinault was a victim of his own hubris. There is never a moment in the 1986 Tour when LeMond stamped his authority and that is a shame.

I am surprised that Moore does not remark on the similarity with the 2009 Tour when the arrogant, bullying pig Armstrong came back to the race ostensibly to promote his charity and ride for team leader Contador, and then spent the race attacking him on the road and in the press / social media. He turned the team against Contador and used it to put time into Contador when the race split in the wind, mocked Contador's inexperience to the media and acted in many ways similar to Hinault in 1986.

I am also surprised that so little is mentioned of LeMond's post-Tour life, particularly his involvement in bike manufacturing, his association with Trek and the apology Trek forced him to make about doping, Michele Ferrari and Armstrong.

Overall, had this book been closely edited and reduced to half its length, it would have been a much better book. As it is, it is an interesting, but frustrating, read about a great edition of the Tour.
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on 8 August 2011
In the novel 'Stone's Fall' Iain Pears manages to write a story that starts at the end, works backwards and still has tension, revelations and a satisfactory ending. It's quite a feat, and Richard Moore pulls off something similar in 'Slaying the Badger.'

Most people who read this book will know the outcome of the 1986 Tour de France. There's a big clue in the title too. That Moore manages to create an air of intrigue, building towards genuine tension in the final third of the book is testimony to the quality of the writing and the fascinating situation he patiently unfolds.

A writer couldn't ask for more interesting central characters, either. LeMond, the gifted outsider entering what was in many ways a closed and secretive world. Hinault - the Badger - uncompromising, determined, a brutally powerful cyclist who could control a race through his physical ability and force of personality. Although two thirds of the book are given to the background and the two men's careers, the psychological focus is on the '86 Tour and the promise Hinault (who would be chasing a record sixth Tour win) gave to team mate LeMond. The 1986 Tour would be LeMond's, and Hinault would ride to help him. The book is as much about psychology, personality, the warp and twist of human beings' motivations and actions as it is about cycling, and it's a fascinating read.

Oh yes, and they say in writing a book you need a good, gripping opening. What happens in the opening few paragraphs of 'Slaying the Badger' I guarantee you will never forget.
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on 19 June 2011
Richard Moore is the perfect writer to tell the tale of the 1986 Tour de France and the rivalry between Bernard Hinault and Greg Le Mond. His passion and knowledge of cycling shine through as they did in the other two books by him that I have read, In Search of Robert Millar: Unravelling the Mystery Surrounding Britain's Most Successful Tour de France Cyclist: Unravelling the Mystery Surrounding Britain's Most Successful Tour De France Cyclist and Heroes, Villains and Velodromes: Chris Hoy and Britain's Track Cycling Revolution but it is ability to construct a narrative and the fluid style of his writing that makes him stand so tall in the ranks of modern sports writers. The story of this epic race is told through the words of people who were there. Le Mond and Hinault themselves as well as directeur sportives and fellow riders. Moore introduces us to all the players, giving us a background to each of their perspectives and an idea of their personalities and then tells to unfolding story through their words so that you finish the book feeling like you have been there in the heart of the race yourself. It reads like a gripping novel so well is it constructed. As I write this we're 2 weeks away from the 2011 Tour de France and this is a book I would strongly advise you read as to set your pulse racing in anticipation of this year's race.
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