Tuesday, 3 July 2012

The Tour de France...to the bitter end

Having started in 1903 as a publicity stunt for an ailing French newspaper, the Tour de France is now the world's greatest sporting spectacle. Back then, cyclists raced alone through the night, sometimes at the risk of being beaten up. Today's riders pedal 3,500 km around the French countryside, cheered on by huge roadside crowds and accompanied by the mighty caravan of media, sponsors and support staff that keeps the wheels turning. But one thing hasn't changed: the Tour remains just as awe-inspiring a test of extreme mental and physical stamina as it has always been.

The Tour de France...to the bitter end is the best of over a century of Guardian and Observer Tour reporting, with pieces about all the cycling greats - everyone from Louison Bobet, Tom Simpson, Eddy Merckx, Lance Armstrong to 2012 favourite, Bradley Wiggins. The book covers areas such as press reporting of the race, doping, tactics to crashes. Geoffrey Nicholson, Chris Brasher, Richard Williams and William Fotheringham, who also wrote the introduction, are just some of the top writers included.

Also available from Guardian books.