Le Tour has sometimes been called “chess on wheels” because of the complicated strategies used by the race’s 22 teams and 176 riders. This book—written by award-winning cycling journalist John Wilcockson, who has covered the Tour 45 times—will help you understand those tactics, along with informing you about the race’s century-plus history, its famed winners and rivalries, and the technology that has gone into creating the modern racing bicycle and determining how today’s athletes train.
Among the questions answered are:
- Who owns the Tour?
- How are the course’s 21 stages selected?
- What are the most famous mountain climbs?
- How is the overall winner determined?
- What is a peloton, a soigneur, or an echelon?
- How big are the prizes?
- What are time bonuses?
- Who was the first American to compete in the Tour, and who was the first one to win it?
- How fast do the racers go down mountain descents?
- What speeds can the riders reach in sprint finishes?
- Why are the teams known by the names of their sponsors and not their countries?
- What do the riders eat, and where do they sleep every night?
- What are all those motorcycles doing among the cyclists?
- How do the organizers deal with doping scandals?
- And is it true that, one year, the top four finishers were all disqualified?