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Legends of the Tour Paperback – July 1, 2014
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Cleijne's art is beautiful, from glorious splash pages showing a tree-lined country road filled with riders and fans, or illustrating the painfully relentless ascent of Alpe d'Huez, to multi-panel pages unfolding the emotions of victory or tragedy. Key riders are well-drawn and recognizable. The stories are told primarily through the imagery and captions, although he often lets the pictures tell the tale, very effectively. The colors are at times moody (putting us on the mountain in a storm,) or sunny, reminiscent of color palettes from the 1920's cartoon strips. His story-telling is spot-on, infusing gentle humor at times and pathos at other times. The infamous doping years are not glossed over - their impact is explored as much as the impact of other important events during the Tour's 100 years - but he covers the encouraging path that cycling has taken to pull out of these dark times, covering recent Tours right up to Chris Froome's win.
I've enjoyed watching the Tour de France for years, and this book lends an important background foundation in an entertaining fashion. This is also an amazing book for those who love good graphic art and story-telling, and for those who enjoy riding a bike. It's amusing, inspiring, and quite beautiful - I high recommend reading it!