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on 20 October 2016
Most people are familar with the famous 86 TDF. Richard Moore explains that in the 85 Tour Lemond was promised by Hinault that if he waited and helped him, his La Vie Claire French team mate, win his 5th Tour Hinault he would help him the following year,.Mr Moore describes the 86 Tour perfectly. Hinault sure had a strange way of helping by racing into the lead though, Make up your own mind, was Hinault trying to win his 6th TDF instead or not? I know what I think.
There's a subtext to this race, the La Vie Claire was probably the strongest team there's ever been in the history of the Tour. 5 riders Bernard, Bauer, Hampsten, Hinault and Lemond were capable of winning. In fact 4 finished in the top 10. Fortunately most worked for Lemond in the end.
One final thought, after Merkx who was the second best cyclist ever? Possibly Hinault who won races all year round.
This is an excellent book and I recommend it.
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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 12 August 2013
I still remember watching this tour and wondering what would happen, I always thought that Bernard was playing a game, hoping that Greg would crack so he could claim the win and not look like he had gone back on his promise. I was never comfortable with Greg going on about Bernard 'owing' him a tour, the crash was not really Bernard's fault as such, so it would normally be wrong to capitalise on a teammates misfortune?
If this means anything to you and if this sort of intrigue floats your boat then this is the book for you! It was great for me to be reminded of '80s cycling and read about what happened behind the scenes. If this happened before my time and I did not have an interest in this period of cycling history I am not so sure I would have enjoyed it so much. But Bernard Hinault is a legend, knowing about him and his style? behaviour? antics? is a must if you are interested in cycling history. Greg Lemond is no less a legend and is also an interesting character. Great stories. This is why I have rated it highly.
I think anyone who is interested in cycling and what goes on behind the scenes would enjoy this book. But I would suggest that anyone who does not already know a bit about the characters would not find the book so interesting, it is quite in depth and focuses on a very specific point; what was Hinault playing at? I suspect it depends on which rider is your favourite!
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VINE VOICEon 26 November 2012
I came to this book having read and throughly enjoyed Richard Moore's biography of Robert Millar. Moore is a very good writer with in depth appreciation of road racing. His compiles this story following interviews with both Hinalut and Lemond themselves, alongside various other riders, directeurs and soigneurs. The tale that emerges is very thorough. He tells the story of the two riders prior to the tour of '86, then takes us through each stage and its twists and turns. I can still recall watching the two riders together at the finish of Alpe D'uez. I had always thought that was the climax to the story, but more was to unfold.

It's the story of Hinault that fascinates most. Clearly he had a great deal of fun, toying with Lemond and the journalists. I'm sure he would have won if he could, but it wasn't to be.
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on 7 March 2014
Richard Moore has done a great job of telling the story of LeMond and Hinault. The story flows well considering the narrative moves between interviews with the two riders and other participants in those great years of cycling that were the 80s. Sean Kelly, Robert Millar,Andy Hampsten,Laurent Fignon to name some of the greats but the clash of character between Hinault and LeMond is the stuff of legend.
Don't think we'll ever see cycle racing like this again ,today it's all technical and ear radios. We need this passion.
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on 9 February 2013
Having been introduced to the Tour de France in the time of Indurain, a lot of the cyclists mentioned in here fall into the category of those I had heard mentioned but knew little about, including Lemond and Hinault.
In fact, one of the things I did know about LeMond was that he had been distanced from cycling to a point because of Armstrong (I read this about a year before everything collapsed on Lance).
Richard Moore does not fall into the trap of purely describing the event which will be the climactic part of the narrative, which for me would have been problematic as I did not know enough about either man to walk straight into it. He devotes an appropriate amount of time to describing the history of each man, which enables you to understand the way each acts once we are put into the world of professional cycling.
This is a great book and I would thoroughly recommend it to anyone with even a passing interest in the subject. If you are feeling disillusioned about cycling post Armstrong: read about LeMond, a man who publicly questioned him and who I trully believe in.
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on 28 August 2012
I wanted to find out a bit more about Lemond rather than Hinault as I have a Lemond road bike. This certainly informs the reader about both riders and shows the contrast between their personalities, the laid back versus the intense. With a good amount of background information both researched and richly bolstered by speaking to the riders and other involved parties this book sets the scene well and then focuses on the 1986 tour. As you may or not know the battle for the 1986 tour de France was indeed one of the classics and in my opinion the author has captured the tenseness and excitement of that tour particularly well.
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on 25 August 2015
Very well documented, excellent story and anecdotes. Much more worth than just a reading, it opens the way to learn more about professional cycling at the times of the likes of Lemond, Hinault, Hampsten compared to Armstrong and Froome today.
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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 August 2014
Third book I have read by Richard Moore and the best of all. Fantastically well told, with the first half providing thw background and lead up to the 1986 TdF and the second half giving a blwo by blow account of the race. Richard does not shy away from calling it as it was and backs this up by weaving in a rich tapestry of first hand witness statements from key players including the two great men themselves.
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