Tour de France 100 by Richard Moore

28 Jun

The 100th running of the Tour de France gets underway this Saturday and I can’t wait! My wife will tell you that the only reason we have a wide-screen high-def TV in our house is so I can watch the Tour (and as usual she is absolutely correct). Every June I get a copy of the Velo Magazine Official Tour de France Guide and carefully study the routes for each stage and team line-ups. The 2013 Tour de France promises to be especially exciting due to the six mountain stages with four summit finishes—including two climbs up the Alpe d’Huez in the same day! This year my pre-tour reading material included Tour de France 100 by Richard Moore, a book sent to me for review by VeloPress.

Tour de France 100 by Richard Moore

Tour de France 100 by Richard Moore

The full title of the book is Tour de France 100: A Photographic History of the World’s Greatest Race. I don’t want to bury the lead, so here it is: This is the most beautiful book about cycling you will ever see! The photos are simply stunning. Even though I’ve read dozens of books about the Tour de France this book has a lot of photos I’ve never seen published anywhere before. While I own several thousand eBooks (an occupational hazard), this is one book that you really need to have in your hands to appreciate. This hardcover book measures 11″x12.5″ and has 224 pages with over 250 color and black and white photos.

My wife hasn’t been on a bicycle since the day she got her driver’s license, but she watches every stage of the Tour de France with me. Even non-cyclists can appreciate the beauty of the French countryside, the excitement of the crowds that line the routes and the incredible endurance of the world’s greatest athletes (plus I’ve noticed that my wife pays special attention to the race when Fabian Cancellara in on the screen).

Léon Scieur in the Alps during the 1920 Tour

Léon Scieur in the Alps during the 1920 Tour / Credit: Offside/L’Equipe

Tour de France 100 divides the history of the Tour into twelve sections, beginning with the early years (1903–1914). The black and white photos in the early sections show the Founding Fathers of the Tour riding (and sometimes pushing) their steel bikes with metal water bottles and several spare inner tubes wrapped over their shoulders since outside help was banned in the early days of the Tour.

While the Tour began in 1903, this year is only the 100th running since the Tour was interrupted twice by war. On page 55 of the book there is an interesting photo from stage two of the 1936 Tour—it shows the peloton passing a small group of French soldiers near Amiens (during WWII Amiens had a Gestapo prison that was bombed by the Allies as part of a raid to free French Resistance fighters).

Eddy Merckx ("The Cannibal")

Eddy Merckx (“The Cannibal”) / Credit: Offside/L’Equipe

One of my favorite riders in Tour history is Eddy Merckx (“The Cannibal”). Merckz won the Tour de France and the Giro d’Italia five times each, had one win at the Vuelta a España, and claimed nineteen wins at the Classics. Chapter seven of the book is aptly named The Cannibal, 1969–1977. This chapter has some of the most spectacular photos in the book (black and white photography had come a long way since the early days of the Tour).

The Armstrong Era, 1999–2005 is the focus of chapter eleven. Whether you love or hate Armstrong, you have to admit that he was fun to watch. I don’t know about you, but I still have a few posters of Lance hanging in my garage (and a few more scattered throughout my house).

Andy Schleck on the summit of the Col du Galibier

Andy Schleck on the summit of the Col du Galibier / Credit: Bryn Lennon/Getty Images

The last chapter of the book covers the growing influence of Australian and British riders. Here you will find photos of all the modern cyclists most people are familiar with—Cadel Evans, Bradley Wiggins, Chris Froome, Andy Schleck and many others.

In the past few years I’ve written over 400 product reviews for cycling products—and along the way I’ve only put five or six items in the “highly recommended” category. Tour de France 100 is the only item I’ve ever put in the “must buy” category! If you don’t buy this book you are missing out on what I believe to be the best cycling book ever published. After you buy the book you will probably read it twice—the first time you will go through the book you will probably just look at the photos (and that is going to take a while). The second time you can actually read it!

Tour de France 100 retails for $35, but is available through Barnes & Noble and for under $25. The author of the book, Richard Moore, is a sports journalist and the author of several other cycling books, including Slaying the Badger—a book about the struggle between Greg LeMond and Bernard Hinault during the 1986 Tour de France.

I would like to thank the folks at VeloPress for allowing me to use a few photos from the book in this review. If you would like to view some of the other photos from the book you can visit the Tour de France 100 blog.

Images from “Tour de France 100” used with permission from VeloPress, copyright © 2013. All rights reserved.


Posted by on June 28, 2013 in Book Reviews


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32 responses to “Tour de France 100 by Richard Moore

  1. paigesato

    June 28, 2013 at 8:43 AM

    i don’t follow cycling (except for watching the TdF) or know much about its history, but when you mentioned Eddy Merckx, something rang a bell: aha! a belgian bistro in nyc named Cannibal that also sells cycling gear!

  2. Joboo

    June 28, 2013 at 9:06 AM

    Sadly I don’t hold Le Tour of Dopers in as high as regard as you, but to each their own as I always say!! 😉
    Eddy Merckx was and is the bomb!!
    Jens Voigt is right up there too.

    • All Seasons Cyclist

      June 28, 2013 at 3:26 PM

      If we got rid of all the dopers in the world Washington D.C. would be empty (not that it would be such a bad thing).


    June 28, 2013 at 10:38 AM

    Despite all the doping usage over the years, I too watch the Tour every year and look over each stage. I tape it and watch it piecemeal and by the time I’m done the Tour has already been completed for a week or 2. I love it. I wish one day to see the women’s equivalent televised.

    • All Seasons Cyclist

      June 28, 2013 at 3:28 PM

      I have watched a FEW of the women’s pro races on TV — but they seldom broadcast their events — a real shame!

  4. xcountrypearl

    June 28, 2013 at 10:39 AM

    I love the Tour and look forward to watching it every year, despite the doping issues. One day I hope to see the women’s equivalent televised.

  5. adventurecrow

    June 28, 2013 at 12:37 PM

    I will be following every stage! I will be attempting to qualify next year hopefully I can get some solid training under my belt, I’m young I’m fit, I’m an endurance athlete, and I’m motivated as all hell to climb alp duez! I want that polka dot jersey so bad! I want to be the little guy who can climb those mountains.

    • All Seasons Cyclist

      June 28, 2013 at 3:30 PM

      I would love to TRY to climb Alpe d’Huez — but I have a feeling the last half of the ride would be in the Broom Wagon.

  6. Richard E Marion

    June 28, 2013 at 4:57 PM

    Machinery Beauty Endurance Altitude Attitude. Shines more than it tarnishes. The Race [and The Race] is about optimism.

  7. ezpc1

    June 28, 2013 at 8:25 PM

    Reblogged this on ezpcgoescycling and commented:
    Tour de France …tour de France —-can’t wait.

  8. Bar Science

    June 28, 2013 at 8:34 PM

    Very cool!

  9. suth2

    June 28, 2013 at 11:26 PM

    I love the Tour and just like you I bought the Official Guide (the Australian version) and have studied it judiciously in readiness for the Tour.
    Bring it on!

    • All Seasons Cyclist

      June 29, 2013 at 10:13 AM

      I’m all ready for it to start — and my telephone will be off the the entire time!

  10. cellistwhotris

    June 29, 2013 at 12:50 PM

    Cool! You should go see the Tour live sometime…I saw it 4x when I was living in France. There’s always a way to plan a vacation around that. 🙂 (Like a wine tour of Provence on bikes?) Just plant yourself on a hill or they go by so fast that it’s anti-climatic! I saw Pantini, Lance, Virenque (right before his whole team went down for doping).

  11. Matt Oaks

    June 29, 2013 at 7:27 PM

    I love to ride bikes, but the Tour is the only cycling I can watch on tv, and really only for the scenic views. I am a little jaded on the tour, so I tend to not put so much serious thought in it. I tend to read more about the sport, Brian Bruns a great travel writer has a book out about RAGBRAI, he’s written a hilarious take on the cycling world., Rumble Yell it’s called. Maybe the guys on the Tour would get a kick out of it…but I think not.

    • All Seasons Cyclist

      June 29, 2013 at 8:01 PM

      I have several friends who go to RAGBRAI every year, but I’ve never gone myself (the miles wouldn’t bother me at at — but sleeping in a tent every night would kill me)

  12. Ridingbuffalo

    June 29, 2013 at 8:14 PM

    Say what you want about Lance, you either love him or hate him, but he was not alone. I think the TDF is a stunning example of cycling at its best. You get everything in one location, riders, drama, Phil and Paul, scenery and the best cyclist in the world. I would ride the route in a heartbeat and I can see myself standing by the side of the road watching the riders race up the climbs.

  13. Irish Katie

    June 29, 2013 at 10:45 PM

    That photo of that Eddy Merckx is pretty awesome nod nods.

    • All Seasons Cyclist

      June 30, 2013 at 12:07 AM

      The book has several more photos of Merckx — I still see people interviewing him every year during the Tour — seems like a class act (and I hope you are doing well — I am sure you have a lot going through your mind right now).

      • Irish Katie

        June 30, 2013 at 12:24 AM

        Thank you … *small soft hug* … I am doing ok. But wahhh, I am going to have to postpone my Tri …but I WILL do one damn-it lol.

        Oh, by the way, yesterday I saw a whole slew of mountain bikers driving all over and saw them all parked at a pub nearby…almost 30 or so at least…and all were muddy like you would not believe…I thought surely there was a mountain bike ride going on…and I thought, I bet you would love that nod nods.

        • All Seasons Cyclist

          June 30, 2013 at 1:06 AM

          Those are my type of people! If you can’t get your bike dirty, what’s the point?

  14. Sheree

    June 30, 2013 at 10:02 PM

    Thanks for the recommendation, it’s now on my “Must Buy” list. So your wife’s a Fabian Cancellara fan! So’s our Miss Kitty Fondue who invariably manages to put a daily picture of him on Facebook and even has a new Facebook page for the ladies’ favourites (Fabian, Tom, Bertie and others) not at the Tour which may be of interest to her.

    • All Seasons Cyclist

      June 30, 2013 at 10:51 PM

      Thanks for the link to the Facebook page — I will pass the info on to Mrs. All Seasons Cyclist!

  15. Foster Morton

    July 2, 2013 at 9:02 AM

    Tour de France will be the Tour of the whole of France, of every kind of France, of every French people too. And while the race will not spread over the French borders, for the first time since its centenary in 2003, the event will largely extend beyond the race itself. Almost every day, an initiative, a sign of support has reached us, offering to celebrate with fondness and respect the youngest 100-year-old in the country. The course between Corsica and the Champs-Elysees will be far more than a showcase for the number one tourist destination in the world. Thanks to the images of France Televisions, it will bear witness to the love for a race which, while not a World Heritage site like the Mont St Michel or the Calanques of Piana, is still a national treasure. This Tour will be the Tour of all the beauties of France, but also the Tour of everyone involved in it. The riders of course, who will write with their sweat the 100th chapter of a long saga and will be greeted in Paris by all the Giants who showed them the way.


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