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The Tour Is Won on the Alpe: L'Alpe d'Huez and the Classic Battles of the Tour de France

Overview

If there is one mountain climb that embodies the spirit and magic of the Tour de France, it is the Alpe d'Huez. Its twenty-one hairpin turns and average gradient of 8.1 percent over 13.1 kilometers have become legendary, changing the careers of Americans Greg LeMond and Lance Armstrong, and nearly destroying Jan Ullrich and Marco Pantani. Here at last is the definitive history and unforgettable story of cycling's greatest challenge.

In The Tour is Won on the Alpe: The Classic ...

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Overview

If there is one mountain climb that embodies the spirit and magic of the Tour de France, it is the Alpe d'Huez. Its twenty-one hairpin turns and average gradient of 8.1 percent over 13.1 kilometers have become legendary, changing the careers of Americans Greg LeMond and Lance Armstrong, and nearly destroying Jan Ullrich and Marco Pantani. Here at last is the definitive history and unforgettable story of cycling's greatest challenge.

In The Tour is Won on the Alpe: The Classic Battles of the Tour de France, cycling historian Jean-Paul Vespini tells the story of this celebrated climb and the mountain that so often acts as the ultimate arbiter for cycling's biggest prize. Each chapter covers one ascent, starting with Fausto Coppi's astonishing victory in 1952. Cycling's most famous names are all present and accounted for: Coppi, Eddy Merckx, Bernard Hinault, Pedro Delgado, Miguel Indurain, Marco Pantani, and of course the American victors Greg LeMond and Lance Armstrong.

Jean-Paul Vespini's riveting descriptions of each battle to the top include candid interviews with riders, new insight into epic rivalries, and little-known but fascinating facts about the climb that has become a rite of passage for every rider in the peloton.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"It is testament to the author's skill and enthusiasm that reading places you right there, amongst the sea of orange that constitutes the annual Dutch army." — TheWashingMachinePost.net

"The Tour Is Won on the Alpe is a great place to start tracing the sport's last half-century. The book recreates the slopes, screaming masses of fans, and exhausted riders that make up the legend of the Alpe. If you want to get to know the Alpe, this is your reference guide." — PodiumCafe.com

"A valuable historical account of the last 30-odd years of professional cycling." — BikeRadar.com

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781934030233
  • Publisher: VeloPress
  • Publication date: 5/28/2008
  • Pages: 208
  • Sales rank: 1,006,904
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Born in Gardanne, where the road racing season is launched every year, Jean-Paul Vespini has been a journalist for 25 years (first with Provencal then with La Provence). Vespini has contributed to numerous cycling reviews, including Le Cycle and the former Cyclisme International. He is the author of many cycling history books, including a bestseller on Richard Virenque. In 2007, Vespini covered his thirteenth Tour de France.

Translator David V. Herlihy is the author of Bicycle: The History (Yale University Press), and a former contributor to Bicycle Guide.

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Table of Contents


Foreword   Jean-Marie Leblanc     ix
Prologue: The Pinnacle     xi
Birth of a Legend     1
1952: Fausto Coppi Climbs to the Heavens     7
1976: How Alpe d'Huez Became "Dutch Mountain"     17
1977: Thevenet Can't Climb the Stairs     25
1978: Pollentier, or the Story of a Toad's Trickery     34
1979: Two Climbs for the Price of One     41
1981: The Badger Denied     48
1982: Beat Breu in the Footsteps of Charly Gaul     53
1983: Fignon Makes His Debut     57
1984: Hinault Agonistes     64
1986: The Alpe's Greatest Duel     70
1987: Delgado Sets Spain Afire     78
1988: Steven Rooks Smiles at Last     83
1989: Fignon's Exhausted Attack     91
1990: LeMond and Bugno to the Line     97
1991: The Beginning of the Indu-reign     104
1992: Hampsten Sets His Pace     109
1994: Pantani Sets a Record     115
1995: Pantani and Indurain: The Face-Off     122
1997: The Pirate, Alone at the Helm     129
1999: Armstrong: Return of the Miracle Man     136
2001: The Look     143
2003: Armstrong Battles Bad Luck     149
2004: Six-Shooter: Armstrong Aims at the Record     158
2006: Landis in Armstrong's Footsteps     167
The Ascents of Alpe d'Huez     177
Statistics     192
Notes     203
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