When the Tour de France was first held, it was only six stages long. Each of those stages, however, was a grueling ultramarathon averaging 400 kilometers for a total Tour length of 2,400 kilometers. The largest margin of victory in the history of the Tour--2 hours, 48 minutes--comes from this race. From 1903 to 1999, Tour de France/Tour de Force
covers the history of the world's greatest cycling race in words and pictures. All the great riders are profiled: Lucien Petit-Breton, "King" Rene Vietto (who never won), Eddy "the Cannibal" Merckx, Bernard "the Badger" Hinault, Greg LeMond, Miguel Indurain, and of course, Lance Armstrong. Tour de Force
also traces the event's evolution; for example, Pyrenees climbs were added in 1910, ensuring that versatile riders would come to dominate.
Author James Startt shares stories of ingenuity (when Francois Faber's chain broke in the last kilometer of the 1909 Tour, he simply ran his bike across the finish line), tragedy (Tom Simpson collapsing and dying on the climb up Mont Ventoux in 1967), and triumph (Lance Armstrong's 1999 Tour victory). Lavishly illustrated, Tour de France/Tour de Force is essential reading for cyclists and cycling fans alike. --M. Stein
From Library Journal
Lance Armstrong captured the imagination of people around the globe by winning the Tour de France in 1999. Armstrong's strength of human spirit is precisely why millions of fans watch the race each July. Considering that the riders cover 2000 miles in 21 days, traveling through all kinds of terrain and weather, the Tour is arguably the toughest, most demanding bicycle road race in the world. In The Unknown Tour de France, veteran cycling reporter Woodland describes the event from a behind-the-scenes perspective. Woodland's book is a credible history, making good use of anecdote to detail how the Tour has changed since 1903. Moreover, the author chronicles the many colorful people involved and the drug scandals that continue to tarnish the competition. In contrast to Woodland's study, former competitive cyclist Startt's Tour de France/Tour de Force is a nostalgic look at the legendary challenge of endurance and skill, featuring hundreds of photographs and a list of results from 1903 to 1999. A special feature is an introduction by three-time winner Greg LeMond. What makes this title so captivating is the stunning collection of color photos. Although both publications are highly recommended and sure to be enjoyed by bicycling enthusiasts of all ages, public libraries may prefer to purchase Startt's pictorial history.DLarry R. Little Penticton P.L., BC
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.