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Slaying the Badger: Greg LeMond, Bernard Hinault, and the Greatest Tour de France Paperback – May 1, 2012

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"[Slaying the Badger is] a gripping narrative of this psychological and physical three-week war." - Wall Street Journal

"Rich in drama and emotion. As racing books go, Moore's book just might be the greatest ever." - Outside magazine

"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." - Scotland on Sunday

"[Slaying the Badger offers] intriguing insight into one of professional cycling's greatest rivalries…Where Slaying the Badger succeeds is in making such a well-known story so readable." - BikeRadar.com

"Richard Moore's excellent new book Slaying the Badger reexamines the mythology of this great race, attempting to shed new light on the motivations of these two great riders and what really happened on the roads of France in the summer of '86. What helps set Moore's book apart is the array of characters he brings to the story...A thrilling read." - Red Kite Prayer

"[Moore assembles] a stellar cast of interviewees, about twenty in all…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…For those three interviews alone, Slaying the Badger is worth reading.” - Podium Cafe

"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

"Captivating... Slaying the Badger is a mixture of clear-eyed journalistic analysis and unashamed nostalgia." - The Times Literary Supplement

"Masterly, relevant and intriguing." - Washingmachinepost.net

"Moore entertainingly unravels the complexities of the relationships within the peloton." - Guardian

"Moore magnificently offers a fresh perspective, bringing alive this supreme tussle…A gripping read." - Blazin' Saddles, a blog from Eurosport.com

From the Back Cover

Tour de France, 1986: The battle lines are drawn. America's hope, Greg LeMond, fights to dethrone "the Badger," French hero Bernard Hinault.

Former world champion LeMond is gunning for his first Tour victory. Hinault is clawing his way toward a record-breaking sixth.

LeMond, mercurial and raw, struggles for recognition. Hinault, fiercely combative and relentlessly aggressive, wants to go out on top.

On his side, LeMond has two team allies. But Hinault has five.

And there's one other problem: They're on the same team.

Their explosive rivalry burned the rule book, shredded friendships, shattered careers, and destroyed convention. It also led to the greatest Tour de France ever raced, an epic, chaotic, confounding, and ultimately exhilarating war of pure adrenaline, cold-blooded calculation, and extraordinary athleticism.

Heroism, treachery, spectacle, controversy, betrayal: In detail and emotion, Richard Moore brilliantly reconstructs the mind-boggling story of the 1986 Tour de France, the greatest race of them all.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: VeloPress (May 1, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1934030872
  • ISBN-13: 978-1934030875
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.8 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.5 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (164 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #139,039 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

19 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Hank Rearden on June 7, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Greg LeMond and my brother inspired me to start riding and racing. Back in the day if we wanted detailed info about races we had to wait for the next issue of Velo News or Winning magazine. Then CBS or one of the networks started covering the Tour de France on Sundays. We loved the coverage even though it only scratched the surface of the drama that is professional bicycle racing.

This is a great book. A great read about really what was the pivotal point in pro cycling in the modern era. Hinault represented the "old guard" of cycling. A figure so prominent an dominating that he was in fact the "patron of the peleton". Riders were in awe of him and often outright feared him. Some loved him, some hated him. LeMond represented the American invasion into one of the holy of holy European sports. Even though Jock Boyer had been there for years he wasn't a talent like LeMond. I always admired LeMond because he respected the sport and the traditions of sport. The 1980's to me represents the end of the "honest" cycling era. Sure there were doping issues during the 60's 70's and 80's (Delgado in '88) etc... But EPO really changed the sport and has ruined cycling IMO. I digress.

If you are a fan of bicycle racing and especially a fan of the Hinault, Fignon, LeMond, Roche, Kelly era of the 1980's this is a must read book. Moore goes way out of his way to write a fair and balanced book on what was, is, to many of us one of the greatest and most dramatic Tour de France races ever. Because of technology, sophisticated doping, and the money now involved in cycling racing like this no longer happens today. Cycling has become a sport of specialists and is orchestrated to the minute detail. Love him or hate him Hinault raced like few have after him.
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22 of 25 people found the following review helpful By Crispin on June 2, 2011
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An excellent book that is well written and researched. The author seems to have researched the history of Lemond, Hinault and Kochli thoroughly giving entertaining insight into each character. An illuminating read which I couldn't wait to get back to each day. Well worth it.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Thomas Purcell on September 12, 2011
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I had read portions of this book in a cycling magazine, and they were so good, I had to get the book. Very well-written, with a real understanding of the inside aspects to professional cycling. Richard Moore's style fits the true-life characters very well, as he moves from interview to interview with the main and the associated people in the story. One would not need to be a hard-core cycling fan to appreciate this book; it's a real page turner.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Bobby B on September 15, 2011
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Greg LeMond has always been one of my heroes. Before reading this book, I really didn't know much about Bernard Hinault, except that he was a 5-time winner of the Tour. I was enlightened by this book. The author does a good job of trying to tease out the truth of what really happened at the 1986 TdF. But...there's truth with a 'T' and then each characters version of the truth. Maybe we will never truly know what the Badger's intentions where that year. I have a newfound respect for Le Blaireau as well! Lemond and Hinault come to life in this book. If you are a fan of cycling or even just a fan of sport, this book is a page turner.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Nztayls on June 19, 2011
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Outstanding book. Couldn't put it down. Very well written and covers the story from both sides. Lemond was my idol growing up as a teenager getting started in cycling, and now to be able to read the full story of what happened during 1986, and also to learn more about Hinault was fascinating.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By James Carey on May 23, 2012
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I am just starting to get into the sport a little more (personal maintenance/repairs, history, training) and this book was a great read. I enjoyed it mostly for it's interviews and opinions of the participants directly involved in the event. There is a good amount of history covered in the first 2/3's of the book (author mentions this in the preface) but it's completely necessary and does a great job of framing all that ends up happening around the 1986 tour.

I didn't know much about this topic before reading this book so there is a possibility that if you were alive during the tour and or an avid cycling fan you might already know a great deal of the information presented. In addition, even though I knew LeMond won this tour (spoiler alert?) I didn't know how each stage played out (minus L'Alpe d'Huez) so reading about each stage was very engrossing and held my attention very well.

The only addition I would like to see is more history about the participants after the 1986 tour. Moore comments on this a little bit but not as in depth as the history before the tour. It'd be interesting to really see how this particular tour shaped not only the individuals but ultimately the sport.
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17 of 22 people found the following review helpful By snailmartyr on March 26, 2013
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Slaying the Badger was a disappointment to me. It reminded me of the journalism at the time in the U.S. surrounding the 1986 TDF which invariably portrayed Hinault as villian and Lemond as doe-eyed innocent. The degree to which the author went to demonizing Hinault in the first half of the book was extraordinary, extending even to some caustic observations re: Hinault's wife as compared to Lemond's (What can we say about Martine Hinault except that she's no Kathy Lemond... ne pas? Wow.)

There's footage available on YouTube the year following Lemond's torpedoing of Boyer's effort in the World Championship Road Race the year before (1982) in which he basically says that Boyer needed to 'prove he was the strongest' if he expected to win... words that were used verbatim by Hinault in 1986.

SEE on YouTube: 1983 World Road Cycling Championships Men's Road Race Part 1/2 (SEE: minute 8:50)

Why Greg Lemond should not be held to the same standard Greg Lemond held Boyer to just 3 years earlier is a mystery to me. The parallels with Lemond's conduct as teammate in 1986 could not be more obvious. Here for the first time we get a glimpse into Lemond's etiquette when it comes to working with teammates. Even (or especially) teammates must prove they are the strongest if they expect to win.

I found it amusing that a jounalist of the time felt Boyer had no chance, but Sean Kelly - who was in the peloton when Boyer attacked - felt he had a good chance. The author dismissed this fact by pointing out that Boyer had recently signed onto the same team as Kelly... the implication being that Kelly was just telling Boyer what he wanted to hear at the time. How does the author substantiate this charge? Does he ask Sean Kelly if that was the case?
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