Top critical review
Let me in Laurent!
on 5 June 2015
I found this book to be a tricky read. Laurent Fignon is brutally honest with his opinions of the sport, but the book often felt like a series of small stories and I craved some more detail of the races themselves over his personal feelings towards colleagues and personalities he rode with. The book did not flow too well from my perspective and read like a journal. Each story is interesting but upon finishing I can't recall a full story of a race, rather just bits of tours and races that added up to be his career.
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.