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We Were Young and Carefree Paperback – International Edition, July 5, 2010

4.3 out of 5 stars 44 customer reviews

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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.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Yellow Jersey Press (July 5, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0224083198
  • ISBN-13: 978-0224083195
  • Product Dimensions: 5.4 x 0.9 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (44 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #667,904 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I was lucky enough to be a competitive athlete in the 1980's...an 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 us...as 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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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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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I'm so glad I took the time to read this account by Fignon. I started racing in 1984-85 and I couldn't stand this guy. His public persona was of this pompous, arrogant, smirking celebrity cyclist... who also had a tremendous talent that at least sometimes made up for these character flaws. The book does a good job of uncovering the roots of this perception - some of it justified; some of it magnified by the media accounts of the time. I was pleased to find that he and the Badger were actually quite good friends and seem to have remained so throughout his run in life. His taunting of Hinault during and after the 1984 TDF was one of the reasons I took to disliking the man.

I even appreciated the fact that this was not an account by an accomplished author - quite the contrary. As a result, many readers may find it plodding and pedantic in places; repetitive in others. This is a small price to pay for Fignon's perspective on the last years of the Golden Age of cycling (roughly 1948 - 1986). The account brims with authenticity, soul searching, and the confessions of a man who must have known at some level that he was penning his own obituary.

I get so angry when cyclists today apologize for Armstrong and other modern cyclists by claiming that professional cyclists have always used drugs and cheated. Fignon makes the case that the drugs doing the rounds in his day were known, tested for, and were never a part of the general routines and traditions of cycling. The drug of choice in his day was amphetamine and as Fignon says, it could never take an average cyclist and make them into a champion. He also chronicles the rise of the super drugs like EPO, HGH, synthetic testosterone, etc.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I am a recreational cyclist and triathlete since the early 1980's. I have been a fan of professional cycling for over 25 years. I have read many books written by and/or about many of the pros, including Hinault, Merkx, Lemond, Robert Millar, David Millar, Armstrong, Alan Peifer, Mark Cavendish, and many more. I have enjoyed them all. But this book by Laurent Fignon (I know I am reading an English translation) may be my favorite. It is certainly different than the others. Until I read this, I had always thought of Fignon as simply the guy who lost The Tour by 8 seconds. After reading this book, I will never look at him that way again. I have so much more understanding of cycling in the 80's. I have so much more respect and admiration for Laurent Fignon. I wish he were still with us. I would love to meet him. I think he portrays what the Tour de France was all about before and up to the time it became a seroiusly professional event, and all that brought with it.

I'm sorry I can't give this more than 5 stars.
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