His list of 'firsts' alone makes him worthy of a place in the cycling pantheon: the first man to win the Tour de France five times; the first man to win all three grand tours - the Tour de France, Giro d'Italia and Vuelta a España; and the first man to win both the Tour and Vuelta in the same year.
However, the extraordinary life of Anquetil does not stop at his achievements on a bike. He candidly admitted to using drugs, offended legions of fans by confessing that his only motivation for riding was financial and infamously indulged his enthusiasm for the high life. He also seduced and married his doctor's wife, had a child with her daughter and then sustained a ménage à trois with both wife and stepdaughter under the same roof for 12 years. When this 'family' eventually imploded, he attempted to inspire jealousy in his former lovers by having a child with his stepson's ex-wife.
Containing exclusive contributions from Anquetil's family, friends, teammates and rivals, Sex, Lies and Handlebar Tape untangles myth from reality and confirms that fact is definitely stranger than fiction.
Then there are the dangerous animals likely to be encountered on the route: grizzly bears, mountain lions and wolves, not to mention rattlesnakes and tarantulas. Worse, the rewards for all this effort are strictly limited. Unlike in the Tour de France, there is no fabled yellow jersey and no prize money.
Yet, undaunted, and in spite of never having owned a mountain bike, Paul Howard signed up. Battling the worst weather for generations, drinking whiskey with a cowboy and singing karaoke with the locals, Howard's journey turned into more than just a race - it became the adventure of a lifetime.
Coppi's scandalous divorce and controversial early death convulsed a conservative, staunchly Roman Catholic Italy in the 1950s. At a time when adultery was still illegal, Coppi and his lover were dragged from their bed in the middle of the night, excommunicated and forced to face a clamorous legal battle. The ramifications of this case are still being felt today.
In Fallen Angel, acclaimed cycling biographer, William Fotheringham, tells the tragic story of Coppi's life and death - of how a man who became the symbol of a nation's rebirth after the disasters of war died reviled and heartbroken. Told with insight and intelligence, this is a unique portrait of Italy and Italian sport at a time of tumultuous change.
National Sporting Club Book of the Year
Shortlisted for the William Hill Sports Book of the Year Award
'An exhaustively detailed and beautiful book . . . a fitting, ambivalent tribute - to the man, and to the dark heart of the sport he loved' Independent
On Valentine's day 2004, Marco Pantani was found dead in a cheap hotel. It defied belief: Pantani, having won the rare double of the Giro d'Italia and the Tour de France in 1998, was regarded as the only cyclist capable of challenging Lance Armstrong's dominance. Only later did it emerge that Pantani had been addicted to cocaine since 1999.
Drawing on his personal encounters with Pantani, as well as exclusive access to his psychoanalysts, and interviews with his family and friends, Matt Rendell has produced the definitive account of an iconic sporting figure.
Tom Simpson was an Olympic medallist, world champion and the first Briton to wear the fabled yellow jersey of the Tour de France. He died a tragic early death during the 1967 Tour. A man of contradictions, Simpson was one of the first cyclists to admit to using banned drugs, and was accused of fixing races, yet the dapper 'Major Tom' inspired awe and affection for the obsessive will to win which was ultimately to cost him his life.
Put Me Back on My Bike revisits the places and people associated with Simpson to produce the definitive story of Britain's greatest ever cyclist. The fully revised and updated edition of William Fotheringham's classic biography features a new foreword and postscript further exploring the truth behind the legend.
‘The best cycling biography ever written' Velo
‘A beautiful explanation of why Simpson's legend still exerts such a powerful hold’ Sunday Times