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The Tour de France Companion: A Nuts, Bolts & Spokes Guide to the Greatest Race in the World Paperback – May 1, 2004


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Product Details

  • Series: Tour de France Companion
  • Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Workman Publishing Company; Victory edition (May 1, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0761135200
  • ISBN-13: 978-0761135203
  • Product Dimensions: 8.2 x 5.2 x 0.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #158,357 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Dan Koeppel has been writing for more than 20 years about bikes, bike racing, and outdoor adventure for National Geographic Adventure, Bicycling, Men’s Journal, and ESPN: The Magazine. He was inducted into the Mountain Bike Hall of Fame in 2003.


Bob Roll, known to racing fans as Bobke (boob-ka), is a former Tour de France racer and member of the U.S. Cycling Hall of Fame. He is the author of two books on the wild side of racing, Bobke and Bobke II, and is a wildly popular bicycling commentator for the Outdoor Life Network.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

28 of 29 people found the following review helpful By gwc on July 13, 2004
Format: Paperback
"The Tour de France Companion" is a concise and well written introduction to the Tour. As other reviewers have noted, Bob Roll appears to have been working with a strong editor and/or sedatives, and the manic Bobke style only occasionally appears (it's most evident in his comments about Jan Ullrich).

As a long-time cycling fan I can't say that I learned anything new about the organization or strategy of the Tour, but there are plenty of historical anecdotes to keep the reading interesting. There are also a few gems, like the 1994 photo of youngsters Armstrong, Pantani, and Virenque climbing together. Ten years and three tumultuous careers later, one wonders what they were thinking then. One might also wonder what Virenque was thinking with that haircut.

And, yes, the book is Lance-centric. Sort of like the last five Tours.
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55 of 65 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 4, 2004
Format: Paperback
Bob Roll is an American who understands not only the Tour, but also how to entice an American to understand the Tour. I have my share of elite cycling experience myself, and one thing that I have noticed is that Americans in elite cycling try to act "cool" whenever someone mentions the Tour and Lance in the same sentence. In other words, "oh, this book is all about Armstrong, this documentary is Lance-centric, the only thing Americans know about the Tour is Lance, and I'm so cool because I don't talk about Lance at all, bla bla bla." Believe me when I tell you, many Americans in elite cycling don't *want* Americans to understand better, because in their transparent insecurity, they enjoy the fact that they know more than the general population. Not so with Bob Roll, who has written a book that is the right amount of Armstrong with the right amount of inside tangential knowledge to entice a variety of readers. Is it a book for the world class touring elite cyclist? Uh, no. It wasn't meant to be. But it fits everyone else.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 15, 2004
Format: Paperback
I picked this book up on a whim, hesitating slightly as "Bobke" has a writing style that can veer wildly from sublime to psychedelic. In this companion book to the upcoming TDF, his writing style is very well disciplined, and the book is extremely readable. The book is designed to prep you for the upcoming event. The 2003 TDF is the launch point for this book, but the history of the tour suffuses the pages, as well. Sidebars are amusing and interesting, the data at the back is nice to have. Overall, a pleasant surprise, and a useful book if you want to get jazzed for the 2004 TDF.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By MCB on May 24, 2004
Format: Paperback
I love cycling but I did not know alot about the TDF when it came to rules, history, etc. This book explains almost everything in terms everyone can understand. If you are a member of the peleton already this book may be too basic for you but for the rest of us it is a superb read!
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Enrique Torres VINE VOICE on February 23, 2005
Format: Paperback
Whether you are new to cycling or a veteran of the road, there is something for everyone here to digest. Bob Roll, the gap-toothed comedic sidekick to the more serious Phil Ligget on the outstanding OLN broadcast that cyclists look forward to every July is almost as entertaining in print as he is on television. This companion to the Tour de France can be enjoyed anytime of the year (for that spring motivation?)but obviously is best for TDF viewing. The companion was made specifically for the 2004 edition of cyclings greatest event but is full of so much history and tid bits of information that it can digested anytime. For the novice it is indespensible because it explains all the nuances that might otherwise go unnoticed. Any cyclist knows how annoying it can be to try and explain the peleton and other strategies during the race. We've all heard the words, " I don't know why he just doesn't go ahead and pass the other rider." The strategies are all explained and put in historical context, complete with humorous anecdotes and little known facts. The book is dedicated to one of the recent heroes but tragic figures of cycling, Marco Pantini, the diminutive giant who demonstrated to the world that he was the premier lithe and sinewy climber affectionally known as "The Pirate." The book hails the exploits of all the great riders of the past and present, the heartbreak and the heartbreakers, the riding asssassins and their victims. This is the everymans companion to one of the worlds greatest events and spectacles. The now defunct champion U.S Postal Team complete roster reflects the international nature of this sport and is featured here.Read more ›
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Dave Shields on December 28, 2004
Format: Paperback
First-time viewers are often both suprised and confused by the complexity of the Tour de France. If you've become interested in the world's most difficult endurance event then this book is the perfect place to satisfy your curiosity. TDF Companion is the best introduction to cycling that I've ever come across. Readers will quickly understand why the Tour de France inspires such rabid fans. Long-time cycling afficionados will love the book for the jaw-dropping facts sprinkled throughout, along with the incredible insight of a man who has run this gauntlet several times.

Be forewarned: once you understand cycling you are likely to become addicted.
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