The Tour de France : The Good, the Bad and the Just Plain Weird by Paul Hansford

It seemed like I was always watching the Tour de France with experts, who chattered about the “peloton” and “attacks”, so I found this book. Hansford has a sense of humor, and his explanations of Tour jargon are well worth reading. He also includes biographic information on many of the famous riders, and on the founders and developers of the race. I still don’t entirely understand teams and how the riders assist each other. Hansford provides information about the drug scandals without heavy handed judgement. Apparently early riders all used “speed” and related substances. Modern synthetic chemistry gave them more options but also improved detection. Is the sport now “clean”? Too soon to say.

I’ll probably continue to enjoy seeing the lush French countryside as much as I enjoy cheering for the riders and trying to pick the winner, but I’m glad to be better informed about the Tour.

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