As most of you will have heard by now, I've written a Tour de France book: The Complete Book of the Tour de France, which is published in the UK by Aurum Press. Given the brevity you normally associate with Café pieces I've written in the past you'll be glad to know this is a brief book, and only runs 722 pages.
The idea of the book was to collect the cold data about the Tour. The basic facts: who won what, where and when. The stage winners, the yellow jersey wearers, the runners up, the winners of the race’s other competitions. But that cold data needed more, it needed stories to back it up and tell how the race was won.
In order to understand the Tour, though, it is necessary to take a step back from the stories of who won what and how, and try to see the bigger picture. The story of how the race came into being and how the race came to be bigger than all the other races it competes with. The story of how the race came into the possession of its current owners, the Amaury family. The story of the cheating and deception that has been part of the race since the beginning. And, chief among the cheating and deception, that means telling the story of doping.
The Complete Book of the Tour de France is being released today and you can win a copy. To be in with a shot of doing that all you have to do is answer below, or on Twitter using the hashtag #TheCompleteBookOfTheTourDeFrance, the following question:
Which is the bigger number: the number of men who have walked on the moon, or the number of Irishmen who have started the Tour?
(There's no bonus points for naming all in both sets, but do feel free to show off if you wish.)
Competition closes Sunday evening, nine o'clock. First name out of the hat gets the book. Winner will be announced here and on Twitter. Usual rules apply. Good luck.
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The Complete Book of the Tour de France by Feargal McKay is published in the UK by Aurum Press (2014, 722 pages).