So one thing you probably don’t know about me is, that I love Tour de France. I follow it – almost religiously – every year. Now, this is a book blog, so maybe you’re not all familiar with what Tour de France is. It’s an (amazing) annual bicycle race held in France with riders from around the world participating. They cover more than 3000 kilometers in 3 weeks – riding up and down mountains, through the rain and the sun, past beautiful castles and small villages. It always end in Paris where the winner is crowned – after an amazing race round Champs-Élysées.
In Denmark, we have a wonderful commentator called Jørgen Leth. Leth is a movie director, a poet, a writer and formerly, Denmark’s consul in Haiti. On top of that, he’s a bicycle enthusiast and knows everything about France, professional cycling and Tour de France. Leth is part of the reason why I love watching Tour de France. He has a poet’s eye for the landscape and the cities, the race goes through and he’s just able to talk for hours about anything and nothing at all – and he knows everything worth knowing about the Tour.
So in order to celebrate that the race is starting today, I wanted to post about the Tour de France themed reading I plan to do while the race is going on.
Three different books about professional cycling and the Tour. Two professional riders – and one fan.
David Millar: Racing Through the Dark. The Fall and Rise of David Millar.
This is the story of what was – and maybe still is – the true face of professional cycling. The highs and the lows – the amazing wins and the time spent in jail, being investigated for doping. This is Millar’s personal history of his life as a professional bike rider.
Jørgen Leth: Den gule trøje i de høje bjerge (English title: The Yellow Jersey in the Tall Mountains).
A poet’s introduction to a bicycle race. Leth celebrate the daring and the ones who have the ability to go all out and writes about the history of the Tour with his all personal highlights.
Lance Armstrong: It’s Not About the Bike. My Journey Back to Life.
Lance Armstrong. The man who has won the Tour de France more times than anyone else. 7 times! But also a man constantly being investigated for illegal doping. This is a book about his battle with cancer and how he triumphed over the disease and went on to win the Tour. Armstrong, Indurain – and of course Bjarne Riis – are my favorite Tour winners (although I also really liked how ‘the angry Australian’ Cadel Evans won it last year).