The Tour de France is the biggest annual sporting event in the world, and at the same time it transcends sport. The Tour de France comes to the people. It passes their houses, it turns right in their village squares, it thunders through their suburban streets and into the hearts of their towns and cities. It is a unique event in that people don't so much go to see the Tour, as it comes to see them.
This book traces how racing in the Tour de France developed, and how tactics, bike technology, rider preparation and training developed, too. It profiles each of the men who have won the Tour de France, and others who have been key players. Subsidiary competitions, such as the King of the Mountains prize, are featured, as well as Tour lore and traditions.
The book examines the Tour's extraordinary history, and how a bike race, a simple sporting contest, holds up a mirror to the face of a nation. It looks at why the Tour started, why it captured the imagination of a country, then a continent and then the world, while at the same the time it has stayed uniquely French, even though a Frenchman hasn't won it for over 20 years.