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Tour De France For Dummies

1 rating: 3.0
A book by Phil Liggett

A plain-English guide to the world's most famous-and grueling-bicycle race Featuring eight-pages of full-color photos from recent Tour de France races, this easy-to-follow, entertaining guide demystifies the history, strategy, rules, techniques, equipment, … see full wiki

Tags: Books
Author: Phil Liggett
Publisher: For Dummies
1 review about Tour De France For Dummies

I now understand the three weeks in July...

  • Jul 19, 2005
Rating:
+3
Yes, there's a Dummies title for just about everything. And since we're now in the 3rd week of the Tour de France, I figured it was about time to finish up Tour de France For Dummies by Phil Liggett, James Raia, and Sammarye Lewis. And yes, I learned quite a bit.

Content:
Part 1 - A Bicycle Race Unlike Any Other: Answering All Your Tour Questions; Understanding the Tour de France Race Routes; The Races within the Race
Part 2 - How the Race Is Run and Won: It's All about the Team; More Tour Rules Than You Ever Wanted to Know; Understanding Race Strategies
Part 3 - Loving the Ride - A Man and His Bike: Who Are These Guys and How Do They Do It?; Spending a Day in the Life of a Rider; Having the Best Equipment in the Bunch
Part 4 - Watching the Race: Perfecting the Art of Spectating from Home; Going to the Tour - A Brief Guide
Part 5 - The Part of Tens: Ten Greatest Riders in Tour History; The Ten Most Important Tours in History; Ten Unique Tour de France Statistics; Ten Dramatic Tour de France Moments; Ten Great Tour Climbs and Mountaintops; Ten Other Important Races; Glossary; Index

Let's set expectations... I ride a bike maybe a couple times a year, and strictly for recreation. Like many other Americans, I became interested in the sport and the Tour through Lance Armstrong's story. I'd like to think I'm moderately educated on how the Tour works, the different jerseys, a bit of the strategy, and so forth. But when it comes to understanding how riders are picked, the logistics for running the team for three weeks, and how the team cars work, I'm lost. This book really helped clear that up. In a very understandable and readable format, Liggett, Raia, and Lewis take you from the very basics (like jersey colors) through tactics and history. At worst, you'll come away knowing about the peleton and the maillot jaune. But in all likelihood, you'll finish with a much greater and deeper appreciation for what these supreme athletes go through to just finish the Tour, much less compete to win. It's rather awe-inspiring...

The only complaint I have about the book is fairly minor, but it really started to get on my nerves after awhile. The editing of the book is a bit uneven. I don't know if it's due to trying to blend three authors into a single volume or if it was a rush job to get it out before the event. For instance, if a new French word is introduced, like musette (feedbag), I don't need the word musette (feedbag) explained to me every time it occurs. The first time I learn about the domestique going back to get musettes (feedbags) for everyone on the team, that's fine. After that, I should probably know what musette (feedbag) means. Let it go! Same thing with the Discovery Team (formerly the US Postal Service Team). I can make that translation myself after the first five times. And if you say US Postal Service Team (now the Discovery Team), I'm guessing I could have figured that out.

So, if you're still a bit confused about all the hoopla during three weeks in July, this book will definitely clear it up for you. If you're an experienced rider, you may still pick up a few factoids you didn't know.... A good read.

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