The Daily Telegraph Book of the Tour de France by Martin Smith
A man, a bike and the open road. What could be simpler? Certainly not the Tour de France, the annual travelling circus which for more than a century has been the ultimate test of sporting endurance.There's been pain. There's been joy. There's been death. There's been derring-do of mythic proportions. There's been cheating. There've been drugs. There've always been drugs. And there's always been the Daily Telegraph.
On the peaks of Mont Ventoux, Alpe D'Huez and Col du Galibier, in amongst the picnicking, partying crowds, whizzing through London in 2007's wondrous opening stage, dropping in and out of the peloton, the Telegraph has been there for every turn of the wheel.
The book features eyewitness accounts of cycling greats Fausto Coppi, Jacques Anquetil, Eddy Merckx, Bernard Hinault, Miguel Indurain and Lance Armstrong, along with details of the contest's darker side - including the 1967 death of Tom Simpson and the stain of doping.
Boasting contemporary, firsthand reports from leading cycling correspondents including J.B Wadley, David Saunders and Phil Liggett, this book captures the full drama of the tour.
Chris Boardman and David Millar provide views from the saddle; James Cracknell swaps his boat for a bike on a pre-race reconnaissance mission; Paul Hayward catalogues the 1998 'Tour of Shame'; while Brendan Gallagher eulogises the colossi who bestrode the race, and searches for their modern-day successors. Together, they chronicle the greatest show on two wheels.
Martin Smith was formerly assistant sports editor and sports writer at the Daily Telegraph, where he worked for more than twenty years. An enthusiastic cyclist in his youth, he graduated to the less arduous four wheels as soon as he was able.