A wonderfully written book by the younger brother of Louison Bobet, the 1st man to win 3 Tours de France in a row. Jean is an Anglophile, and "intellectual" who was a post graduate at Aberdeen, who wore glasses that made him stand out among the rural somewhat uneducated peloton of the 50's. His loving prose and candor are riveting. It's a hard book to put down and one I wished would not end. Jean Bobet's conversational tone and literal references make a wonderful read. His devotion to his brother is not without criticism.
He also revels in the language of cycling. "'The chasse a' la canette' (bottle hunt) was an insane practice that transformed dehydrated riders into bloodthirsty savages, diving into fountains or drinking troughs, or robbing bars and cafe's while insulting their staff."
"The Larousse dictionary defines slang as the parlance of serfs rather than that of lords. Cycling slang is no exception. It is in use more at the back of the peloton than at the front, which explains it's richness in terms of misfortune."
His descriptions of the torture of Paris-Roubaix and Mont Ventoux are graphic and very real.
Translated from the French by Adam Berry.