Volume two of The Cycling Anthology has just been released, and this edition of collected essays from some of the world’s foremost cycling writers focuses on the Tour de France.
William Fotheringham, Jeremy Whittle, Ed Pickering, Daniel Friebe, Ruper Guinness, James Startt and Samuel Abt return to contribute to the latest volume. The book’s editors, Lionel Birnie and Ellis Bacon, also submit chapters.
Their work appears alongside essays from new contributors Ned Boulting, Brendan Gallagher, Richard Williams, Daniel Lloyd and Colombian writer Klaus Bellon Gaitán.
The Cycling Anthology: Volume Two contents
‘Look How Big It’s Become’ by Samuel Abt
Félix Lévitan ran the Tour with an autocrat’s discipline. But although he was authoritarian he was also visionary. He dreamed of a truly international Tour, with a Grand Départ in New York or Moscow. He left the organisation suddenly and in controversial circumstance and was effectively exiled for more than a decade before Jean-Marie Leblanc invited him to the start of the 1998 Tour in Dublin.
Samuel Abt was cycling correspondent for the International Herald Tribune
‘A Life of Brian’ by Ned Boulting
Ned meets Brian Venner, the man responsible for putting the Tour de France on British television in the 1980s.
Ned Boulting presents ITV Sport’s coverage of the Tour de France and is the author of How I Won the Yellow Jumper and On the Road Bike: The Search for a Nation’s Cycling Soul
‘The Angel of the Mountains’ by Richard Williams
Charly Gaul, the graceful climber from Luxembourg, won the Tour de France once, in 1958. It wasn’t Gaul’s results but his daring exploits in the mountains that captured the imagination and earned him the most romantic nickname of them all. Richard explains why Gaul personified panache in a way the metronomic efficiency of Jacques Anquetil never could.
Richard Williams is a former chief sports writer of The Guardian
‘Nervous but Prepared’ by Klaus Bellon Gaitán
One of Lévitan’s dreams was to invite teams from all over the world to participate in the Tour. In 1983, the Colombians arrived and began to make waves in the mountains. Klaus charts the rise of cycling’s popularity in Colombia, remembering a time when a nation had its collective ear glued to a radio listening to the Tour.
‘It’s All About the Car’ by Brendan Gallagher
Covering the Tour is a marathon, not a sprint. During the month of July, the journalist’s car becomes his castle, mobile office and transport café. Brendan describes what it’s like trying to keep up with the greatest sporting spectacle when it keeps pedalling away from him.
Brendan Gallagher has been a sports journalist for 30 years, writing for the Daily Telegraph for 20 of those years
‘The Reluctant Prince’ by Daniel Friebe
It’s incredible to think that just six summers ago, Linus Gerdemann took the yellow jersey at Le Grand Bornand and was being hailed as the saviour of German cycling. But he did not fulfill his potential and now is without a place on a professional team. Daniel looks at what went wrong…
Daniel Friebe is the author of The Cannibal, a biography of Eddy Merckx, and Mountain High
‘Ça M’est Égal’ by Jeremy Whittle
This summer’s Tour will be Jeremy’s 20th as a journalist. In those years, the Tour has been affected by scandal as often as it has been touched by greatness. But, he concludes, despite everything, the Tour has an intoxicating charm no other event can match.
Jeremy Whittle is the author of Bad Blood and cycling correspondent for The Times
‘Napoleon’ by William Fotheringham
Cyrille Guimard can justifiably claim to be the greatest directeur sportif in the history of the Tour. He led Lucien Van Impe, Bernard Hinault and Laurent Fignon to victory and set Greg LeMond on the path to glory too. He was a combination of motivator and dictator, which earned him the nickname Napoleon. William explores his legacy.
William Fotheringham wrote Eddy Merckx: Half-Man, Half-Bike. His collection of work for The Guardian, Racing Hard, is on sale soon
‘The Greatest Show on Earth’ by Ellis Bacon
The 1989 Tour de France was the greatest of all time. The final-day time trial, in which Greg LeMond turned a 50-second deficit to Laurent Fignon into an eight-second overall victory, was arguably the most dramatic day in the Tour’s history but it was also the culmination of a race that see-sawed one way then the other. Ellis enjoys a nostalgic trip back to 1989 by re-watching the montage produced by Channel 4 that told the story of the race.
Ellis Bacon is the author of Mapping Le Tour, published by Collins
‘The Tour Winners’ Club’ by Edward Pickering
Edward Pickering studies two Tour winners, Jan Janssen (1968 champion) and Bernard Thévenet (1975 and 1977) and asks what it takes to achieve victory. We like to think that Tour winners are extraordinary people but wouldn’t it be more accurate to say they are ordinary men doing the extraordinary?
Edward Pickering is the author of The Race Against Time, the story of Graeme Obree and Chris Boardman’s battle for the hour record
‘Roche and the Rookie Reporter’ by Rupert Guinness
In 1987, Rupert Guinness headed to West Berlin to cover the Tour for the first time. As an Australian reporter, he hoped for a good performance by Phil Anderson. Instead, he witnessed the battle between Ireland’s Stephen Roche and Spaniard Pedro Delgado. Here, he tells the story of that race.
Rupert Guinness writes for the Sydney Morning Herald
‘A Guide for the Cynics and Sceptics’ by Lionel Birnie
The Festina Affair in 1998 did not end cycling’s relationship with performance-enhancing drugs but it almost brought the Tour to its knees. Since the fall of Lance Armstrong, it’s tempting to believe that this was the dirtiest era in the sport’s history but it was also the most transparent.
Lionel Birnie writes for The Sunday Times
‘The Director’ by James Startt
Meet Jean-François Pescheux, the man who runs the Tour every day. The former professional rider plans the route and is the judge and jury during the race itself. The 2013 Tour will be his final one before retirement and James Startt explains why he will leave a big hole for Thierry Gouvenou to fill.
James Startt writes for Bicycling magazine
‘A Domestique’s Tale’ by Daniel Lloyd
What’s it like to ride the Tour? It’s the question every fan wants the answer to. And for a professional cyclist there’s another question that is always asked. ‘Have you ridden the Tour?’ In 2010, Daniel Lloyd was called up as a late replacement to replace an injured team-mate, and rode the race as a domestique, supporting Carlos Sastre and Thor Hushovd. He tells the story of the Tour from the inside.
Daniel Lloyd rode the Tour for Cervélo in 2010. He is now a presenter for YouTube cycling channel Global Cycling Network