Butcher, Blacksmith, Acrobat, Sweep: The Tale of the First Tour de France

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Full of adventure, mishaps and audacious attempts at cheating, the first Tour de France in 1903 was a colourful affair. Its riders included characters like Maurice ‘The White Bulldog’ Garin, an Italian-born Frenchman whose parents were said to have swapped him for a round of cheese in order to smuggle him into France as a 14 year old, Hippolyte Aucouturier, who with his jersey of horizontal stripes and handlebar moustache looked like the villain from a Buster Keaton movie and amateurs like Jean Dargassies, a blacksmith who had no idea what he was letting himself in for. Dreamed up to revive a struggling newspaper, cyclists of the time weren’t enthusiastic about this ‘heroic’ race through roads more suited to hooves than wheels, with bikes weighing up to twenty kilos, on a single fixed gear, for three full weeks.

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SKU: 9780224100663 Category:

Description

From the winner of the Telegraph Sports Book Awards Cycling Book of the Year 2018

The first Tour de France in 1903 was a colourful affair full of adventure, mishaps and audacious attempts at cheating. Its riders included characters like Maurice Garin, an Italian-born Frenchman, said to have been swapped for a round of cheese by his parents in order to smuggle him into France to clean chimneys as a teenager, Hippolyte Aucouturier with his trademark handlebar moustache, and amateurs like Jean Dargassies, a blacksmith who had never raced before.

Would this ramshackle pack of cyclists draw crowds to throng France’s rutted roads and cheer the first Tour heroes? Surprisingly it did, and, all thanks to a marketing ruse dreamed up to revive struggling newspaper L’Auto, cycling would never be the same again. Peter Cossins takes us through the inaugural Tour de France, painting a nuanced portrait of France in the early 1900s, to see where the greatest sporting event of all began.

Additional information

Weight 0.267 kg
Dimensions 19.8 × 12.9 × 2.3 cm
Author

Publisher

Imprint

Cover

Paperback

Pages

x, 358 , 8 unnumbered of plates

Language

English

Edition
Dewey

796.620944 (edition:23)

Readership

General – Trade / Code: K