Synopses & Reviews
Twenty-one switchbacks. A narrow ribbon of road stretching relentlessly skyward at an average grade of 8.1 percent. A finish line in thin air more than a mile high.
Nearly every July, in France’s torrid summer heat, the greatest cyclists in the world confront the defiant peaks of Alpe d’Huez. It’s a monster of a mountain that has become a legendary rite of passage for every racer in the Tour de France.
In The Tour Is Won on the Alpe, veteran journalist Jean-Paul Vespini recounts the history of this fearsome challenge and the mountain that has become the ultimate arbiter of cycling’s biggest prize. Each chapter in his tightly told tale covers one ascent, starting with Fausto Coppi’s inaugural victory in 1952. The sport’s most famous names and epic rivalries are all present and accounted for: Eddy Merckx, Bernard Hinault, Miguel Induráin, Marco Pantani, and of course the American greats Greg LeMond, Andy Hampsten and two-time Alpe stage winner Lance Armstrong.
The Tour would not be the Tour without the Alpe. And In the Tour Is Won on the Alpe, the spirit and the magic of cycling’s toughest test is fully told. It is an unforgettable story that will be treasured by every fan of the world’s most magnificent sport.
Includes 16-page color photo section and complete records and results
"It is testament to the author's skill and enthusiasm that reading places you right there, amongst the sea of orange that constitutes the annual Dutch army." -- TheWashingMachinePost.net
"The Tour Is Won on the Alpe is a great place to start tracing the sport's last half-century. The book recreates the slopes, screaming masses of fans, and exhausted riders that make up the legend of the Alpe. If you want to get to know the Alpe, this is your reference guide." -- PodiumCafe.com
"A valuable historical account of the last 30-odd years of professional cycling." -- BikeRadar.com
L'Alpe d'Huez represents the pinnacle of cycling achievement, and has served as the penultimate hurdle for competitors in the Tour de France 25 times since 1952. With 21 hairpin turns and an average gradient of 8.1 percent, L'Alpe d'Huez stands as a legendary rite of passage. In this authoritative book, cycling historian Jean-Paul Vespini describes the experience of this remarkable challenge, and recounts the ascents of many cycling legends, including Fausto Coppi, Eddy Merckx, Bernard Hinault, Pedro Delgado, Miguel Indurain, Marco Pantani, Greg Lemond, and Lance Armstrong. Weaving these feats of athleticism with little-known cycling lore and full-color photography, this fascinating history embodies the most treasured aspect of Le Tour: physical prowess and determination.
If there is one mountain climb that embodies the spirit and magic of the Tour de France, it is the Alpe d'Huez. Its twenty-one hairpin turns and average gradient of 8.1 percent over 13.1 kilometers have become legendary, changing the careers of Americans Greg LeMond and Lance Armstrong, and nearly destroying Jan Ullrich and Marco Pantani. Here at last is the definitive history and unforgettable story of cycling's greatest challenge.
In The Tour is Won on the Alpe: The Classic Battles of the Tour de France, cycling historian Jean-Paul Vespini tells the story of this celebrated climb and the mountain that so often acts as the ultimate arbiter for cycling's biggest prize. Each chapter covers one ascent, starting with Fausto Coppi's astonishing victory in 1952. Cycling's most famous names are all present and accounted for: Coppi, Eddy Merckx, Bernard Hinault, Pedro Delgado, Miguel Indurain, Marco Pantani, and of course the American victors Greg LeMond and Lance Armstrong.
Jean-Paul Vespini's riveting descriptions of each battle to the top include candid interviews with riders, new insight into epic rivalries, and little-known but fascinating facts about the climb that has become a rite of passage for every rider in the peloton.
About the Author
David V. Herlihy is a historian and freelance writer. He has been interested in bicycle technology since his days as a member of the Harvard Cycling Club, and for the past decade he has researched extensively the invention and early development of the bicycle. His work has been featured on National Public Radio and Voice of America and in the "New York Times, "the "Boston Globe, ""Boston Magazine, "and "Historic Preservation. "In 1999 Herlihy received the McNair History Award from the Wheelmen, the preeminent American association of antique bicycle collectors. He lives in Hull, Massachusetts.