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Nolan Richardson

Tour de France: The Illustrated History - Discover the History, Drama, and Legends of the World's Most Famous Bike Race | Kobo



Tour de France: The Illustrated History - A Book Review




If you are a fan of cycling or history, you will love Tour de France: The Illustrated History by Marguerite Lazell. This book is a comprehensive and captivating account of the world's most famous and prestigious bicycle race, from its humble beginnings in 1903 to its modern glory and drama. It is packed with vivid, action-filled photographs and covers every aspect of the race, including the organizers, the technical advances, the scandals, and the cycling superstars.




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In this book review, we will explore what makes this book a must-read for anyone who wants to learn more about the Tour de France and its rich and colorful history. We will also provide some information on where you can buy or download the book, and some FAQs to answer some common questions you might have about the book or the race.


So, let's get started and dive into Tour de France: The Illustrated History by Marguerite Lazell.


The Origins and Evolution of the Tour de France




The Tour de France is not just a bicycle race. It is a cultural phenomenon, a national treasure, and a global spectacle. But how did it all begin? And how did it become what it is today?


The Tour de France was born out of a publicity stunt for a cycling magazine called L'Auto in 1903. The magazine's editor, Henri Desgrange, wanted to boost the sales and circulation of his publication by organizing a long-distance bicycle race around France. He hired a journalist named Géo Lefèvre to design the route and the rules of the race. The first edition of the Tour de France consisted of six stages, covering a total distance of 2,428 kilometers (1,509 miles). Only 60 riders participated, and only 21 finished. The winner was Maurice Garin, who received 6,075 francs as prize money .


The race was a huge success, and L'Auto's sales skyrocketed. Desgrange decided to make the Tour de France an annual event, and gradually expanded and improved it over the years. He added more stages, increased the distance, varied the route, introduced mountain climbs, created different classifications and jerseys, and invited foreign riders and teams. He also faced many challenges and difficulties, such as World Wars, economic crises, political conflicts, and organizational disputes .


The Tour de France grew in popularity and prestige over the years, attracting millions of spectators along the roads and millions more through radio, television, and internet. It became the third most popular sporting event in the world after the Olympics and the World Cup. It also became the ultimate test of endurance, skill, strategy, and teamwork for cyclists. It is often described as the equivalent of running twenty marathons in twenty days .


Today, the Tour de France consists of 21 stages, covering a total distance of about 3,500 kilometers (2,200 miles). It usually starts in late June or early July and lasts for three weeks. It follows a clockwise or counterclockwise loop around France, passing through different regions and landmarks. It also occasionally visits neighboring countries such as Belgium, Italy, Spain, Germany, and Switzerland. It features various types of terrain and challenges, such as flat stages, hilly stages, mountain stages, time trials, and team time trials. It awards different jerseys to the leaders of different classifications, such as the yellow jersey for the overall leader, the green jersey for the points leader, the polka dot jersey for the mountains leader, and the white jersey for the best young rider .


The Organizers and Technical Advances of the Tour de France




The Tour de France is not just a bicycle race. It is also a complex and sophisticated organization that relies on various entities, innovations, and partnerships to make it happen. But who are the people behind the scenes? And what are the tools and techniques they use to ensure the smooth running of the race?


The Tour de France is organized by different entities, each with its own role and responsibility. The main organizer is the Amaury Sport Organisation (ASO), a French media group that owns L'Équipe and other sports publications. The ASO is in charge of designing the route, selecting the teams and riders, managing the logistics, marketing the race, and distributing the prize money. The ASO works closely with the International Cycling Union (UCI), the world governing body of cycling, which sets the rules, regulations, and calendar of the race. The ASO also cooperates with the French government and local authorities, which provide security, infrastructure, and services for the race .


The Tour de France relies on various technical innovations to ensure the safety, fairness, and quality of the race. Some of these innovations include radio communication, which allows the riders, teams, organizers, and media to communicate with each other; GPS tracking, which allows the viewers and fans to follow the position and speed of the riders; doping tests, which aim to prevent and detect the use of banned substances and methods; and video analysis, which helps to resolve disputes and controversies .


The Tour de France benefits from various sponsors and partners, who provide financial and material support for the race. Some of these sponsors and partners include L'Équipe, which covers the race extensively in print and online; Carrefour, which sponsors the points classification and the green jersey; Skoda, which provides the official cars for the race; and Le Coq Sportif, which produces the official jerseys for the race .


The Scandals and Controversies of the Tour de France




The Tour de France is not just a bicycle race. It is also a source of drama and intrigue that has been marred by several cases of cheating, doping, bribery, violence, and corruption over the years. But what are some of the most famous scandals and controversies that have rocked the race? And how have they affected the reputation and credibility of the race?


The Tour de France has been plagued by several cases of cheating, doping, bribery, violence, and corruption over the years. Some of these cases involved riders who tried to gain an unfair advantage over their rivals by using illegal substances or methods, such as Maurice Garin, who was disqualified for taking a train in 1904; Tom Simpson, who died of a drug overdose on Mont Ventoux in 1967; Bernard Hinault, who allegedly bribed his rivals to let him win in 1985; Laurent Fignon, who admitted to using amphetamines and cortisone in 1989; Richard Virenque, who was involved in the Festina doping scandal in 1998; Marco Pantani, who was expelled for having a high hematocrit level in 1999; Floyd Landis, who was stripped of his title for testing positive for testosterone in 2006; and Lance Armstrong, who was banned for life and stripped of his seven titles for orchestrating a sophisticated doping program in 2012 .


The Tour de France has also been affected by several incidents that involved issues such as nationalism, politics, racism, sexism, and terrorism. Some of these incidents include the rivalry between French and Italian riders in the early years of the race; the interruption of the race by World Wars I and II; the protest by Henri Pelissier and his brother in 1924 against the harsh conditions imposed by Desgrange; the assassination attempt on Charles de Gaulle during the race in 1961; the boycott by several teams in 1978 against the introduction of split stages; the exclusion of women from the race until 1984; the attack on Chris Froome by a spectator who threw urine at him in 2015; and the cancellation of a stage in 2016 due to a terrorist attack in Nice .


The Cycling Superstars of the Tour de France




The Tour de France is not just a bicycle race. It is also a showcase of some of the greatest cyclists of all time, who have won multiple editions or stages of the race with their talent, courage, and charisma. But who are some of the most legendary riders who have graced the race? And what are some of the most memorable moments they have created?


The Tour de France has produced some of the greatest cyclists of all time, who have won multiple editions or stages of the race. Some of these riders include Jacques Anquetil, who was the first to win five times in 1964; Eddy Merckx, who was the most dominant and successful rider ever, winning five times and a record 34 stages; Bernard Hinault, who was the last Frenchman to win five times in 1985; Miguel Indurain, who was the first to win five consecutive times in 1995; Greg LeMond, who was the first American and non-European to win three times in 1990; Lance Armstrong (before his disqualification), who was the most controversial and inspirational rider ever, winning seven consecutive times after recovering from cancer in 2005; Alberto Contador, who was one of the most explosive and versatile riders ever, winning three times in 2010; Chris Froome, who was one of the most dominant and consistent riders ever, winning four times and six Grand Tours in total in 2017; and Tadej Pogačar, who was the youngest and most sensational rider ever, winning two times and taking all three jerseys in 2021 .


The Tour de France has also witnessed some of the most memorable moments in cycling history, that have thrilled, shocked, or moved millions of fans around the world. Some of these moments include Fausto Coppi's solo breakaway on the Col d'Izoard in 1952, where he rode alone for 192 kilometers and won by almost ten minutes; Eddy Merckx's dominance in 1969, where he won all three jerseys and six stages, including a stunning attack on the first stage; Greg LeMond's comeback in 1989, where he beat Laurent Fignon by eight seconds in the final time trial after recovering from a hunting accident; Lance Armstrong's recovery from cancer in 1999, where he won his first title and dedicated it to all cancer survivors; Mark Cavendish's sprint victories in 2008-2016, where he won a record 30 stages and became known as the fastest man on two wheels .


Conclusion




Tour de France: The Illustrated History by Marguerite Lazell is a book that every cycling fan and history buff should read. It is a comprehensive and captivating account of the world's most famous and prestigious bicycle race, from its humble beginnings in 1903 to its modern glory and drama. It is packed with vivid, action-filled photographs and covers every aspect of the race, including the organizers, the technical advances, the scandals, and the cycling superstars.


If you want to learn more about the Tour de France and its rich and colorful history, you can buy or download this book from Amazon.com or other online platforms. You can also visit the official website of the Tour de France or follow its social media accounts for more information and updates on the race.


We hope you enjoyed this book review and found it useful and informative. We would love to hear your thoughts and opinions on this book or the race. Please feel free to leave a comment below or contact us via email. Thank you for reading.


FAQs




  • Q: Who is Marguerite Lazell? A: She is a British journalist and author who specializes in sports and history books



  • Q: How many pages is Tour de France: The Illustrated History? A: It is 192 pages long



  • Q: When was Tour de France: The Illustrated History published? A: It was first published in 2013 by Carlton Books



  • Q: Is Tour de France: The Illustrated History available in other formats? A: Yes, it is also available as a paperback and an e-book



  • Q: What are some other books about the Tour de France? A: Some other books include The Official History of the Tour de France by Serge Laget, The Story of the Tour de France by Bill McGann, and Slaying the Badger by Richard Moore



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