I recently received a review copy of the newly released Racing Bicycles, The Illustrated Story of Road Cycling. Covering everything from historical bike designs and components to the famous races and pro riders we all know and love, it’s a fun and informative book for bike racing fans.
Rather than try to describe a book that is so visual in nature, we asked permission to publish a short excerpt so you can see for yourself.
Here’s an excerpt from the section covering the Five Monuments of the spring classics: Milan San Remo, Tour of Flanders, Paris Roubaix, Liege Bastogne Liege and the Giro di Lombardia.
A 250km (155mi) round trip through the pastoral Ardennes region of Belgium and back to the industrial suburbs of Liège. The oldest Classic, it has been run since 1892 and is respectfully known as ‘La Doyenne’. Held to be the hardest of the five, it has a level outward leg that culminates in a series of severe climbs towards the finish, notably the Côte de Saint-Nicolas. While the Grand Tours aim to impress with a backdrop of Europe’s most breathtaking natural and historic scenery, this Belgian Classic retains a solidly democratic landscape of dour northern industrial suburbs, climbing through some very ordinary streets. Run in April it is liable to extremes of weather: Bernard Hinault’s ‘Neige–Bastogne–Neige’ victory in 1980 is famous for the snow (neige) that enveloped the race for its whole course, forcing the retirement of most of the field. Hinault, who wore a red woollen balaclava helmet and crust of snow for much of the race, took three weeks to regain the feeling in his hands. Eddy Merckx holds the record with five wins, one of them, in 1971, another snow-swept feat of endurance.
Excerpted from RACING BICYCLES: The Illustrated Story of Road Cycling by Nick Higgins Copyright © 2018 by Nick Higgins. Excerpted by permission of Laurence King Publishing Ltd.