The Best Books on Bicycles: 09. 'Slaying the Badger'

Richard Moore

    Photo: SoulRider.222/Flickr

Richard Moore boldly declares in his book's subtitle that the 1986 Tour de France was “the greatest ever.” He then spends 300 pages telling a story so rich in drama and emotion that it leaves no doubt in the reader’s mind as to the truth of the name.

Beginning with a dual biography of Hinault and Lemond, Moore spends the first half of his book, Slaying the Badger: LeMond, Hinault and the Greatest Ever Tour de France, vividly introducing the men and their motivations. In the book’s second half, the drama plays out as Lemond, the young rising star, and Hinault, the old champion, the Badger, battle for supremacy on the roads of France. Although riding for the same team and in the shadow of Hinault’s 1985 promise to ride this final Tour in support of Lemond, the competition between these two men was never anything less than ferocious.

Moore unearths a dazzling array of detail through interviews and anecdotes, telling a tale that holds suspense even for those who know the ultimate outcome of this epic battle. As racing books go, Moore’s book just might be “the greatest ever.”

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