Le Tour: A History of the Tour de France

Le Tour: A History of the Tour de France

by Geoffrey Wheatcroft (Author)


A masterful and hugely entertaining history of the Tour de France's first hundred years. When Henri Desgrange began a new bicycle road race in 1903, he saw it as little more than a temporary publicity stunt to promote his newspaper. The sixty cyclists who left Paris to ride through the night to Lyons that first July had little idea they were pioneers of the most famous of all bike races, which would reach its centenary as one of the greatest sporting events on earth. The races of the early twentieth century -- as with the late -- were marred by cheating and chicanery, but before long the Tour became a national institution. Along the way the event opened a window both inwards upon French culture, inspiring a whole new kind of journalism, ruthless civic rivalries and any number of popular songs, and also outwards upon European politics. Geoffrey Wheatcroft's masterful history of the Tour de France's first hundred years is not just a hugely entertaining canter through some great Tour stories; nor is it merely a homage to the riders whose names -- Coppi, Simpson, Mercx, Armstrong -- are synonymous with the event's folly and glory; focusing too on the race's role in French cultural life it provides a unique and fascinating insight into Europe's twentieth century.


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More Information

Format: Hardcover
Pages: 378
Edition: 1st
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Published: 07 Jul 2003

ISBN 10: 0743231104
ISBN 13: 9780743231107

Author Bio
Geoffrey Wheatcroft is a journalist and historian, a former literary editor of the SPECTATOR and 'Londoner's Diary' editor of the EVENING STANDARD, whose last book THE CONTROVERSY OF ZION won an American National Jewish Book Award. He has always been fascinated by the Tour de France, and covered it in 2002 in preparation for writing this highly original book.