In that little bit of dead time between the Giro and the Tour de France there is time for reading! So to get you into the mood for Le Tour starting on July 2nd here are some books to help you swot up on your Tour knowledge and understand just what those 189 riders are going through.
Tour de France – Graeme Fife: If you love the history and mystery of the tour then this book will guide you all the way through from 1903 to 2005. If there is ever a pub quiz round on Le Tour this book will be your bible. It beautifully captures the infamous climbs and the even more infamous riders and contrasts the early years brilliantly to the slick machine which rolls alongside the tour now.
Riding through the storm – Geoff Thomas: This is the former football player who whilst recovering from cancer wanted to fundraise for Leukaemia research – so decided to spend six months training and then riding the Tour de France route. The book chapters, mirror the route he rode but succinctly tell his story of recovery, training and riding.
French Revolutions – Tim Moore: If you need something more lighthearted this book is fantastic. An admitted non cyclist, Moore decides to do the tour – but following the ways of the past, allowing for a little bit of cheating, a little bit of doping (mainly ProPlus!) and a lot of realising he probably should have taken the training a lot more seriously. A great book to give you a reality check when you watch a race and think ‘I could do that!’
Bad Blood – Jeremy Whittle: Of course there had to be a doping book in this list. And this is one of the best I’ve read. The book came out way before Lance confessed but has great insight into those being caught and punished before him and how it is not just the dopers who are affected, but the entire machine.
Racing through the dark – David Millar: Yes, another doping book, but also a great insider’s view on how doping can become an option for regular riders and how it impacts them. It clearly makes the case for redemption (as any autobiography of a caught doper would) but is well written and worth a read to understand the slope that riders can slide down.
Domestique – Charly Wegelius: And finally another autobiography. This one is fab. If you have ever watched the domestiques suffering for their leader, lugging 20 water bottles up a mountain for their team mates or flogging themselves to get someone else the glory it is great to read a book from the domestiques perspective. Wegelius helps you understand just why they put in all that effort when they will rarely, if ever, actually win a race themselves.