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We Were Young and Carefree: The Autobiography of Laurent Fignon [Kindle Edition]

Laurent Fignon , William Fotheringham
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (38 customer reviews)

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Book Description

The international bestselling autobiography of twice-Tour-de-France-winner Laurent Fignon, one of the greatest and most charismatic cyclists of all time.

'One of the most charismatic and flamboyant cyclists in recent history' Daily Telegraph

Laurent Fignon is one of the giants of modern cycling. Twice-winner of the Tour de France in the early eighties, Fignon became the star for a new generation. In 1989 he took part in one of the most fiercely-contested Tours of all time. Over the course of 3,285 kilometres he lost out to his American arch-rival, Greg LeMond, by an agonising eight seconds on the final Parisian time trial.

In this forthright and unflinching account the former champion spares neither friends nor opponents, nor even himself. In doing so he gives cycling fans a tantalising glimpse of what really went on behind the scenes of this epic sport - the friendships, the rivalries, the betrayals, the scheming, the parties, the girls, and, of course, the performance-enhancing drugs.

Laurent Fignon lived cycling at its peak. He enjoyed a truly exceptional career, winning over eighty titles from 1982 to 1993. The highs were matched by lows of serious injury, periods of self-doubt, and accusations of cheating.

Fignon's story bestrides a golden age in cycling: a time when the headlines spoke of heroes, not doping, and a time when cyclists were afraid of nothing.

Laurent Fignon was born in Paris in 1960. He won the Tour de France in 1983 and 1984 and the Giro d'Italia in 1989. In June 2009, Fignon revealed that he was being treated for advanced intestinal cancer and he died in August 2010.

Editorial Reviews


"Astonishing. The twice winner of the Tour de France bares his soul, exploring the ups and downs of life as a champion, the world of competitive cycling, and his own failings" Liberation "Sports book of the year: He's ruthlessly honest, about himself and about cycling, and he provides a gripping insight into an unrelenting hard world" Independent "This book is both a poignant farewell and as well as a rare glimpse of Fignon and his world in his own words" London Cyclist "Sports book of the year: magnificent, baffling, wonderful" Sunday Herald "Often touching and, above all, very funny" L'Equipe

About the Author

Laurent Fignon was born in Paris in 1960. He won the Tour de France in 1983 and 1984 and the Giro d'Italia in 1989. In June 2009, Fignon revealed that he was being treated for advanced intestinal cancer and he died in August 2010.

Product Details

  • File Size: 657 KB
  • Print Length: 306 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage Digital (June 16, 2010)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B003SNJYQ2
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #377,884 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
43 of 44 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars We were young August 27, 2010
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I was lucky enough to be a competitive athlete in the 1980' Iron Man distance triathlete who fell in love with cycling. It was a time when MTV and the Tour de France both made their debut on television. We learned a new language; peloton, Alpe d'Huez and riding a wheel. We also learned of old heroes and fell in love with new one's; Eddy Merckx, Jacques Anquetil, The Badger, Greg Lemond and Laurent Fignon. Laurent was the man I admired and even tried to mirror in appearance. He was fast, insane in his tactics and was the cool French guy with the pony tail! He was partly why I rode. Even why my wife and I became part of a student exchange program with a French family.

If you took up cycling in the 1980's you MUST read this book. His recollections bring back images we watched on TV of Paris Roubaix and the Tour. His stories will help you to understand the times and to make the men of the peloton like Sean Kelly and Bernard Hinault become real people not just powerful guys on bikes. I have to say there were times while reading I felt great melancholy at the knowledge these days are gone for them and for me. Though it took only two days to read the book I have already re-read pages as they instill such emotion, joy and sometimes sadness.

Laurent is a personal hero. Many Americans at that time loved to hate Laurent as he was Lemond's nemesis. And few remember that Laurent won the Tour de France twice before Lemond beat him with skill and technology. The yellow Renault jersey and The Professor will never be forgotten. Laurent is very very sick now...which brings another level of mortality to the book and to life. I wish him well and I hope he knows he DID create a legacy and a joy for many of we rode our bikes over 100 mile training rides we would take up the personas of Hinault and Lemond....and I, Laurent Fignon.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Soul of Cycling October 6, 2010
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I was inspired to buy this book after the passing of Laurent Fignon and the subsequent exposure of the book. I wish I would have known of this book sooner, it's inspirational to say the least. Well translated, the personality, passion, dedication, drive and fearless freedom Fignon had during his life is shared with the reader. No, not shared. The reader is there, with Fignon, as if you are sitting on his shoulder. You are in his life. It's personnel. Before this life experience with Fignon I thought he was an arrigant self absorbed Frenchman. Now, I know him as a champion in every sence of the word. I would have cherished meeting him.

The sport of cycling in his days are different from what we are exposed to now. The move from the way it was to the way it is now, through his eyes, is insightful especially considering the issue of doping. I love the sport of cycling. You will love it even more after this book as you will experience the soul of cycling and witness the change that is taking place. There is still a soul, it's just different. I don't want to say more. Read it.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars One of the true Greats in cycling November 3, 2010
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
He was the man many in the US loved to hate. I for one always respected the guy. A true power rider like LeMond, Hinault, Kelly and the rest of his era. I found the book to be as honest as you would expect from a great champion. Some may be put off by his cockiness but riders his caliber never assend to those hights without having big egos and self confidence. They won by dominating their opponents, crushing their wills on the slopes of the great climbs or riding them off of their wheels. His career cut short by nagging injuries Fignon could have been a four or five tour winner had he been healthy.

Looking back on the 1980's I tend to agree with his assessment that is the last decade of truly great "clean" riders. There are just too many cases in mid to late 1990's to present that cast a huge cloud on the sport with regards to the use of EPO and other drugs. I honestly do not trust any of the grand tour results in the last 15 years to have been won by riders who did not take drugs during the race or in training leading up to the races.

The translation and editing for the Kindle leave something to be desired. It's like nobody even bothers to proof Kindle books before uploading them. While I appreciate the discounted cost of using the Kindle, I expect the publishers to at least care enough to edit the e-book versions before selling them.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Cycling as seen by one of the greats October 31, 2010
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Very rare book for cycling fans. As a racer here in the States for over 15 years I always knew what made guys like Lemond great was equally great competitors such as Laurent Fignon. Yes, the book has Fignon's arrogance in it, but that is part of the reason it is a fun and great read. How strange that I purchased this book shortly before Fignon's death. It is as though Fignon felt a need to leave us all with lasting impressions from a great career. Sometimes as athletes and fans we forget about the spirit, and competitive fire that is involved in sports and life and that can be felt by winners, and losers alike.
Because it is in the "fight" and "spirit" that all of us are victorious. This book captures what is clearly missing in cycling today, and maybe it will return. An inspiring read from one of the greats of cycling.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting and complete March 8, 2011
By Derron
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
We were Young and Carefree is what you would expect from Fignon. It is essentially a chronological account of Fignon from when he was a child to when he began commentating on Television a few years ago. Thankfully, he was able to write this before he passed last year.

The book is very interesting in that it takes you behind the scenes of Fignon's falling out with Bernard Hinault, and Cyrille Guimard. Fignon also makes his thoughts of Greg Lemond apparent. Although he talks about the 1989 Tour De France, he gets past it quickly. Although I was not a great fan of Fignon, I feel his career was so much more than than his 2nd place in the 1989 Tour. Finally, he spends a lot of time on drugs in cycling in the 90s.

If you are fan of Fignon you will find a very confident champion in these pages. If you are not a fan, you will find sort of a whiner and strange person.

No matter, if you were a cyclist in the 80's you will enjoy this book.

I would have given 5 stars but there is nothing really about modern cycling eg. Lance Armstong, Contador, etc. even though he was very involved with modern cycling before his untimely passing.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
One of the best cyclists of France, very good inside story.
Published 2 months ago by pen name
4.0 out of 5 stars Great insight into Laurent Fignon and what made him tick
Great insight into Laurent Fignon and what made him tick. I was not a Fignon fan at the time, but this book has provided me with a new perspective on this gifted rider. Read more
Published 7 months ago by Keith LoPresto
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Nice book if you're interested in cycling.
Published 9 months ago by ivan
4.0 out of 5 stars A thoughtful cut above the usual cycling autobiography.
I am with Laurent when he says the old times, when we didn't obsess with the aggregation of marginal gains, we're not necessarily better, but they were more fun, flair filled and... Read more
Published 11 months ago by Charles Shepherd
4.0 out of 5 stars Me, me,me!
I have never read an autobiography where the author was so self obsessed.Also there is a lack of photographs and hardly any mention of his marriages and divorce. Read more
Published 13 months ago by Cyclist1
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Read for The Obsessed Cyclist
I'm obsessed with cycling and most everything I've read over the last few years has been about cycling. This is one of my favorites. Read more
Published 13 months ago by Michael Cunningham
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the great books
Who do I describe it, Honesty, Integrity, being true to thyself. Laurent takes the read through the length of his cycling career in a straight forward narrative. Read more
Published 14 months ago by Edwin
5.0 out of 5 stars great story
Really enjoyed this book. As a fan I rooted against him in his epic battle with Greg LeMond and I remember his criticism of his opponent that year in that he thought true... Read more
Published 14 months ago by grs
4.0 out of 5 stars Nice getting to know what Laurent was really like.
I like the person Laurent Fignon more after reading this book. In the US we only seem to think of him as LeMond's arch rival but he is so much more. Read more
Published 14 months ago by E. Henry
5.0 out of 5 stars The story of a true old school hero
I loved this book, read it in a night. Fignon's personality really comes out in this book it feels like it was written in the 1940's very cool and oh so French
Published 18 months ago by Chris5000
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