The "Daily Telegraph" Book of the Tour de France by Martin Smith
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. The Telegraph has been there for just about every turn of the wheel. Up in the mountains, on Mont Ventoux, Alpe d'Huez and Col du Galibier, the legendary climbs. Ploughing through the picnicking, partying crowds; whizzing through the Kent countryside in 2007's wondrous opening stage; dropping in and out of the peloton; and dodging the spills. Now the full drama of the Tour is captured here through the contemporary reports of the Telegraph's cycling correspondents, including J.B. Wadley, David Saunders and Phil Liggett, who chronicled firsthand the achievements of cycling greats like Fausto Coppi, Jacques Anquetil, Eddy Merckx, Bernard Hinault, Miguel Indurain and Lance Armstrong; as well reporting the contest's darker side, such as Tom Simpson's death in 1967 and the stain of doping. They are joined on the road at times by others offering their own insights into the greatest show on two wheels: Chris Boardman and David Millar provide views from the saddle; James Cracknell swaps rowing boat for bike on a pre-race stage; Paul Hayward catalogues the 1998 'Tour of Shame'; while Brendan Gallagher eulogises the colossi who bestrode the race, and tries to find their modern-day successors. A fascinating treasure trove of cycling history The Daily Telegraph Book of the Tour de France will keep you reading on and on and on - all the way to that triumphant finish on the Champs-Elysees. Martin Smith was for many years Assistant Sports Editor of The Daily Telegraph.