Blazing Saddles: The Cruel and Unusual History of the Tour de France

Overview

For more than a century, the Tour de France has captured the world’s imagination as the ultimate test of man’s strength and willpower. Blazing Saddles is a riotous tale of the inspiring and sometimes astonishing history of cycling’s most famous race and its whimsical mishaps and astounding feats.

Award-winning sports writer Matt Rendell plunges into “La Grande Boucle,” describing everything from the clothing of the first Tour winner (white blazer, black trousers, wool socks) to ...

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Overview

For more than a century, the Tour de France has captured the world’s imagination as the ultimate test of man’s strength and willpower. Blazing Saddles is a riotous tale of the inspiring and sometimes astonishing history of cycling’s most famous race and its whimsical mishaps and astounding feats.

Award-winning sports writer Matt Rendell plunges into “La Grande Boucle,” describing everything from the clothing of the first Tour winner (white blazer, black trousers, wool socks) to the earliest method of cheating (riding the train). Blazing Saddles recounts the famous rivalries and riders that contested the Tour, setting the score straight with complete records of every podium finisher. Rendell’s vivid storytelling is complemented with more than one hundred classic black and white photographs, portraying cycling’s heroes and martyrs from Jacques Anquetil to Lance Armstrong.

Fans young and old will marvel at this delightful compilation of cycling’s greatest capers and most amazing superstars.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781934030257
  • Publisher: VeloPress
  • Publication date: 6/28/2008
  • Edition description: REV
  • Pages: 303
  • Sales rank: 722,751
  • Product dimensions: 5.60 (w) x 7.90 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author

Rendell survived Hodgkin's Disease and lecturing at British and Latvian universities before entering TV and print journalism.

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Posted April 6, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    There is more to the Tour de France than Lance

    Blazing Saddles offers a relatively brief description of every Tour de France since the inception of the race. The author is probably British, and occasional references will be unclear to some readers. The humor, however, is universal, and makes for a thoroughly entertaining read. The author clearly loves his subject, and it shows.

    The history of Le Tour is amazing. When one considers what a brutal race it is today, with high-tech equipment and clothing, support vehicles, masseuse, nutritionists, etc., it is absolutely astonishing to consider the earliest, even longer events, with no support,no gears, no free wheel, wool clothing and beer on the fly. The riders would literally have to pedal the entire way, and would have to fix their own frequent flats and forge replacement parts or drop out.

    The history of Le Tour also brings much needed perspective on the subject of cheating. The use of third-generation EPO by Ricardo Ricco, Stefan Schumacher et al. is serious and sad, but knowing that earlier racers rode stages in cars or on trains, or threw down tacks on the road to puncture the tires of those behind them, makes one realise that Le Tour has survived and thrived through worse.

    My one wish is that the book would have incorporated more information on technical innovations through the years. Aside from a brief mention of the introduction of gears in the 30's, there is essentially none. It is fun to try to equate the exploits of beer-swilling, chain-smoking crazies on 40 pound steel fixies with the tightly orchestrated efforts of today's pros, and more technical info would have been helpful.

    I highly recommend this book to anyone with a love for cycling and/or for this incredible race.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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