This year’s Tour de France is the 99th edition of a bicycle race that is rich in meaning and symbolism for the French nation. Christopher Thompson is professor of history at Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana and author of a widely acclaimed cultural history of the Tour de France. He discusses how the race came about in an era of rising nationalism and how the route itself was loaded with political meaning. Professor Thompson argues the race projected carefully constructed role models and entrenched traditional gender archetypes. More recently, controversies over doping in cycle sport can be linked to concerns about recreational drug use in wider society.
It’s July, that means it’s the Tour de France. Jack Thurston talks with Ned Boulting, a sports reporter who has been covering the Tour for ITV since 2003. He talks about the rise in popularity of cycle sport and everyday cycling over the past decade and the high jinks he’s got up to while covering the last nine Tours de France Ned’s book, How I Won the Yellow Jumper, is out now, published by Yellow Jersey Press.
This is an extract from an account of a summer touring trip to the Pyrenees, published in the London Bicycle Club Gazette (1879). The group of London cycle tourists rode their machines, or more likely pushed them, up all the major cols including the Aubisque, Tourmalet, Aspin & Peyresourde. They were almost certainly riding high [...]
With this year’s Tour de France just a few days away, Kieron Yates and Jack Thurston talk about the best places to go touring by bicycle in France. They share their ideas on where to go, where to stay and how to get there and back.
1987 was an annus mirabilis for Stephen Roche, one of a wave of world class Irish athletes that rose to fame that decade. He won the Giro d’Italia, the Tour de France and the World Championship road race. The only other rider to have accomplished this feat, know as the ‘triple crown’, is Eddy Merckx. Roche has a new book out called ‘Born To Ride’ and talks about his life in cycling, winning the triple crown, as well as his thoughts on today’s peloton, the scourge of doping and his own implication in an EPO doping conspiracy.
His new autobiography, Born to Ride, is out now, published by Yellow Jersey Press.
Cross Elvis Presley with Muhammad Ali, raise him in a grocery shop in post-war Belgium, put him on a bicycle and what do you get? The greatest cyclist of all time: Eddy Merckx. Cycling journalists Daniel Friebe and William Fotheringham have both treated us to new books about Eddy Merckx, the Cannibal, winner of 525 professional races, five Tours de France, five Giri d’Italia and countless Classics. He was world champion and broke the hour record. We talk about his career, his motivations and the challenges of telling the story of the greatest racing cyclist who ever lived.
Looking back at the this year’s thrilling Tour de France are Lionel Birnie of Cycle Sport magazine and Alex Murray, London cyclist, amateur road racer and blogger at chasingwheels.com. Image by Neil Stevens, part of a series of illustrations for this year’s Tour, available to buy at Crayon Fire