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Lanterne Rouge: The Last Man in the Tour de France Hardcover – May 30, 2015
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“Writer and amateur cyclist Leonard challenges what it means to achieve greatness through the mythos of the sport's underdogs. There is much to learn from this book, which will prove amusing for cycling enthusiasts and interesting enough for sports buffs without a clue.”
- Kirkus Reviews
“In some sports, last place doesn't necessarily mean ignominy. Max Leonard's entertaining book is rich with stories. A lively and engaging book that offers a valuable lesson: A lanterne rouge may finish last, but at least he stayed in the race.”
- Minneapolis Star Tribune
“Don't be surprised if you fall in love with Max Leonard's book. A glorious celebration.”
“A fascinating account that focuses on the many stories, both real and mythical, associated with what is termed Lanterne Rouge, or the cyclist who finishes in last place at the famed Tour de France bike race. Leonard’s captivating, thoroughly researched, and well-written book is replete with a meticulous index of terms and names.”
- Library Journal (starred review)
“Max Leonard demonstrates that perhaps the best way to understand the Tour de France―and, to an extent, cycling as a whole―is to approach it was most of us would on a bike: from well behind. The Last Man in the Tour de France is equal parts history, hagiography, love letter and existential rumination. It is also quite good, insomuch as it falls well within the wheel grooves of the similar sports books before it but then drafts behind them, like a skilled racer does, so that its heart-on-sleeve moments, which can become syrupy quagmires in lesser reads, hurtle by, driven by Leonard’s relatively lean prose and his obvious personal passion.”
- Paste Magazine
“An engaging, exhaustive survey of the last man in the Tour de France, a history, a collection of appealing anecdotes and a psychological consideration of winning and losing. An obvious choice for serious cycling fans, Leonard's study will also please general sports fans, history enthusiasts and those who root for the underdog.”
- Shelf Awareness
“Thoughtful, properly researched, and consistently entertaining.”
- Tim Moore, author of 'Gironimo!'
“A lively account. It’s not easy to come up with an original angle on Le Tour, but with this rear view Leonard has managed the feat in style.”
- Independent on Sunday
“A meticulously researched history chock-full of names and race information, featuring mini-profiles of several men who have been last-place finishers in the race and are called lanternes rouges.”
- The New York Times Book Review
“An elegant book. Surprising and illuminating.”
- The Herald
About the Author
Max Leonard is the author of Lanterne Rouge and amateur cyclist. He has written for Esquire, Monocle, Rouler, Daily Telegraph, Rapha and more. He lives in London.
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The book could have benefited with a map of France, as the non-TdF reader might not know all the regions and climbs of this race.
I think the most insightful part of the book was when he quoted Craig Gaulzetti on the gulf between a top level pro and club riders. "They are not like us. Their lifestyle and training regimes have nothing to do with the healthy activity of recreational cycling." There is more to the quote but that is the jest of it is that no matter how much us normal folks ride it doesn't come close to what the top level pros go through.
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