Filling out that Euro 2016 wallchart has been fun, hasn’t it? There you are, quill in quivering hand, making sure everyone in the office knows exactly what the Czech Republic’s goal difference is. This is the Tour De France version. A beautifully illustrated notebook, broken down into stages, with a easy-to-understand preview of each. You just have to write in the results.
There aren’t many people whose scrapbooks you’d want to plough through. You don’t leave many conversations thinking “Cor, what I wouldn’t give for a little peep at their scrappo”. But fashion designer Paul Smith? The Paul Smith who nearly became a cyclist, but for injury? He’s got an eye for what looks good. So this is full of iconic paraphernalia: cut-outs from cycling mags of the 1950s, and pictures of the most stylish vintage jerseys.
Pre-cycling morning meals are vital fuel for your legs. Sugar-polluted tea and half a Twix: pretty good. Pretty damn good. But this book can take you to the next level. There’s easily applicable advice: you need more fats, as they maximise your aerobic capacity. And there’s fascinating insight about how meticulous the pros’ preparations are: the ideal width between their shoulders while riding is calculated pre-race, for instance.
A compilation of legendary snappers’ shots of the Tour De France between 1939 and 2010. Thanks to their skills, even a mundane image gets given a stirring profundity. You’ll see some wheels sitting on a rack and start clutching at your chest. A cyclist ties his shoes? Oh, the horrors of this world! The pictures of the cyclists’ grim-faced endurance are the most powerful.
Bernard Hinault was a tough b*stard. Want to get punched by a cyclist? He’s your man. At the 1986 Tour, defending champion Hinault promised to play second fiddle to team-mate Greg LeMond. But he didn’t; he wasn’t that kind of guy. This book – a story of ruthlessly betraying a colleague, essentially – details how the battle between them went down to the final time trial.
With thanks to Fullcity Cycles for their co-operation
The skinny-jeaned corpse of 2007 indie is risen and dragging its battered Converse to a venue near you