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.
Jacques Anquetil was a cyclist with an aristocratic demeanor and a relaxed attitude to rules and morals. His womanising and frank admissions of doping appalled 1960s French society, even as his five Tour de France wins enthralled it.
Paul Fournel was besotted with him from the start ("Too young to understand, I was nevertheless old enough to admire") and followed Anquetil's career with the passion of a fan and the eye of a poet.
In this stunningly original biography of a complex and divisive character, Fournel - author of the seminal Vélo (or Need for the Bike)- blends the story of Anquetil's life with scenes from his own, to create a classic of cycling literature.
The author pinpoints the source of his love, tracing its development in the individual, how it draws people into a community and then a tradition – creating a whole worldwide culture to celebrate that deep affection for what is a technological marvel and transcendent experience.
Great champions, too, are inseparable from their bikes. They merge into them, becoming a composite image, figures of myth.
As well as exerting an emotional hold, cycling, in its famous races, also mounts a living proof of exemplary virtues: courage, perseverance and self-sacrifice – gives us, in fact, a glimpse of the higher reaches of the human spirit. There is a sense of this mythical realm in every pedal turn, for once astride a handbuilt lightweight we are put in touch with the greatest riders of all time.
Bikie is the story of one man’s passionate involvement, but in its forthright sincerity it goes to the roots of what we all share.
For 14 years between 1965 and 1978, cyclist Edouard Louis Joseph Merckx simply devoured his rivals, their hopes and their careers. His legacy resides as much in the careers he ruined as the 445 victories - including five Tour de France wins and all the monument races - he amassed in his own right. So dominant had Merckx become by 1973 that he was ordered to stay away from the Tour for the good of the event.
Stage 17 of the 1969 Tour de France perfectly illustrates his untouchable brilliance. Already wearing the yellow jersey on the col du Tourmalet, the Tour's most famous peak, Merckx powered clear and rode the last 140 kilometres to the finish-line in jaw-dropping solitude, eight minutes ahead of his nearest competitor.
Merckx's era has been called cycling's Golden Age.It was full of memorable characters who, at any other time, would all have gone on to become legends. Yet Merckx's phenomenal career overshadowed them all. How did he achieve such incredible success? And how did his rivals really feel about him? Merckx failed drug tests three times in his career - were they really stitch ups as he claimed? And what of the crash at a track meet in Blois, France that killed Merckx's pacer Fernand Wambst, which Merckx claimed deeply affected him psychologically and physically? Or the attack by a spectator in 1975?
Despite his unique achievements, we know little about the Cannibal beyond his victories. This will be the first comprehensive biography of Merckx in English, and will finally expose the truth behind this legendary man.
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.
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
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.
Paul Kimmage's boyhood dreams were of cycling glory: wearing the yellow jersey, cycling the Tour de France, becoming a national hero. He knew it wouldn't come easy, but he was prepared to put in the graft. The dedication paid off – he finished sixth in the World Championships as an amateur and in 1986, he turned professional.
He soon discovered it wasn't about courage, training hours or how much you wanted to win. It was about gruelling defeats, total exhaustion, and drugs - drugs that would allow you to finish the race and start another day.
Kimmage ultimately left the sport to write this book – profoundly honest and ground-breaking, Rough Ride broke the silence surrounding the issue of drugs in sport, and documents one man’s love for, and struggle with, the complex world of professional cycling.
‘A must read for any cyclist’ Cyclist
WINNER OF WILLIAM HILL SPORTS BOOK OF THE YEAR